By Arbresh Useini. 19. November 2018
Leading a team has just become a bit more challenging with now 4 – soon 5 – generations in the workplace. So how do you motivate every generation and involve everyone in the same task when each generation responds different? Studies show that the greater the generation diversity, the lower the overall engagement is in workplaces.
Workplaces consisting of 4 to 5 different generations, requires managing challenges within culture, ideals, values and practices. Generation diversity is expanding, and differences between generations is a part of our modern workplaces. The speed in which we live our life is faster than ever before – and companies needs to stay relevant. This requires understanding the people we have in our organizations. Having 4 different generations in the same workplaces, means having four different views at the same challenge.
Generational diversity may lead to unhealthy work environments, leaving it to managers to contain the organizational damage. Therefore, it is important for managers to understand the communication style for every generation.
Why intergenerational diversity matters
Well, for several reasons. Firstly, because generation Z will represent 20 percent of the total workforce by 2020. Only four years later, by 2024, about 25 percent of the workforce will be people over the age of 55.
As Erik Korsvik Østergaard, one of our founders, likes to mention/point out: “Both my dad and my son may work at the same workplace within a matter of few years.”
What does this mean? Yes, getting these groups of different generations to work together efficiently can be challenging – but also very exciting. The DNA of a successful organization is embracing diversity of people and ideas, building trust and re-thinking existing ways of working.
To manage different generations, you must understand the characteristics of them. Knowing this, helps you – the manager – bringing teams together and create organizations where people want to show up.
Mary Donohue talks in her TED Talk about how misunderstandings among different generations appear, and even refers to the representational system as a method on how to talk with them. You can read more about the representational system in my article the coaching dialogue.
Personal development and a pizza slide
Every modern organization has teams with four roles distributed among team members. The four behaviors in the roles are: business oriented, delivery/discipline oriented, people oriented/interpersonal skills, and specialist oriented/professional skills. We call this ‘the Pizza Model’. Working with people across generations allows teams to operate in a broader sense within all the pizza slides.