How Do You Alter Your Work Style To Meet Diversity Managing Cultural, Generational Diversity: You Say Tomato, I Say Tomaato

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Managing Cultural, Generational Diversity: You Say Tomato, I Say Tomaato

Truth is its still a tomato. And no matter what generation a manager is leading, we are people.

Having said that, psychologically speaking, there are some things we need to be aware of so that we can respectfully and thought fully approach the different generations to increase our power and influence with them.

Operating principle: Highly successful managers work the know, like, value, respect, risk and trust dynamics for increased engagement, alignment in order to integrate the diverse assumption bases into the corporate culture.

The four most influential generations that “cook” a corporate culture are:

  • The Traditionals — people born before 1950.
  • Baby Boomers — women and men born during the middle part of the 20th Century.
  • Generation X — commonly referred to as, Gen X. The generation born after the Western post-World War II baby boom ended. The term generally includes people born in the 1960s and 70s, ending in the late 1970s to early 80s, usually not later than 1982.
  • Millennial’s – those who arrived on this earth following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when the Millennial generation starts and ends, some people use birth dates ranging somewhere from the late-1970s to the early 2000s.

Basically the minds of the different generations are wired differently so that we see and approach the world of business from dissimilar vantage points, even though we walk the same earth.

Here are some things managers need to be aware of while working with the different generations:

Traditionals — that’s me, born in 1943. We tend to operate in the “Theory X” world. Donald Trump is an example of this generation. Competitive, driven, traditional in the personal realm, expects to be respected because of our age, difficulty in understanding the new world of social media.

  • One key to working with us: Be aware that we have ridden the roller coaster of boom and bust. We appreciate your respecting our experience. Please do not take personally our tendency toward being short-tempered. We are having a hard time absorbing all the newness and hyper stimulation of today.

Baby-Boomers — can be obsessive-compulsive, which can lead to slow decision-making and fussing and talking about details that may not be so important. We can exhibit “strange” rituals in order to cope with feelings that they are being threatened in some way. The perceived threat can be seen in the form of fear that their family will abandon them; fear that their partner will take off; fear that their children do not love them “enough”; irrational “catastrophic expectations” that they are going to come to some harm at the hands of even people they know, like, value, respect and love. Baby-boomers are often referred to as “The Worried Well.”

  • Key to managing Baby-Boomers: listen carefully. Do not make fun of them; their sense of humour is limited. Give them freedom, but not so much that they feel abandoned by you.

Generation X — are ambitious, having grown up in the shadow of the Baby Boomers. They can feel alienated and disenfranchised by the cultural icons of their time. “X”‘s” often don’t know where they belong. They are sure they are going to be like the overbearing generation of Baby Boomers — and in making that decision are doomed to becoming exactly that.

  • Managing “X’s”: Tread lightly and be an understanding ear. You don’t want to push them too hard or they rebel. Be sure you acknowledge their efforts or they get resentful.

Millennial’s — who tend to suffer from a “narcissistic wound” that can result in forms of insecurity about their worth, and an irritable habit of an inability to accept and learn from criticism (recognize that I am speaking as a Traditional in that judgment!).

  • Tread softly and carry a kind word with Millennial’s or they will fly the coup faster than a spring chicken. People of this generation, are grew in the shadow of the Baby Boomers. They can easily feel alienated and disenfranchised by the cultural icons of their time. They don’t know where they belong. They sure they do not want to be like the overbearing generation of Baby Boomers — and in that are probably becoming that.

So there you have it — a quick, incomplete view of the corporate generational culture in which you are managing. And that is exactly why you must develop your “people skills,” your emotional intelligence if you ever hope to have any significant power and influence in your company.

Ignore this brutal fact at your peril.

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