The Age Gap in the Public Sector or how to manage millenials
When attempting to build a well-rounded organization, managers and mayors often find success by putting together a diverse staff of talented individuals.
A public organization will always be the sum of it’s own parts, which is why it’s important that your staff be made up of different types of people.
It should come as no surprise that employing different people with different personalities is not always easy, and one of the biggest headaches is managing generation gap in the workplace. Age gap can seem like a difficult issue to maneuver at first.
With the right mindset, managing age gap can become second nature. Here are 5 tips to keep you on the right track.
- Be a LEADER, not a BOSS
One of the greatest things about working with employees of different age groups is the chance to learn and better your leadership skills, although, some managers and directors think they already “know it all.”
This can lead to shutting out great ideas and solutions brought on by your employees.
Millennial, for example, have made a name for themselves as a generation because of their tendency to push the envelope and think outside the box. Rather than be suppressed, this form of thinking should be celebrated and encouraged.
The biggest thing to remember here … is to go into each day with an open mind, accepting ideas that might come to the table. Otherwise, you’ll just be another know-it-all COO manager, and no one wants to work for someone like that.
- Get Management Up to Speed on Generational Differences.
There are plenty of things that can turn good managers into great managers. Perhaps the most important is the ability to know what makes their employees “tick” … and a lot of this is generational in nature. This is why it’s so important for people in leadership positions to know exactly what sets the generations apart.
There is a wealth of information available online that covers why and how each generation is unique, and it can be beneficial for management to get caught up. The more well versed your leadership staff is, the easier it will be to properly manage generation gap in the workplace.
- Always Keep a Frame of Reference in Mind.
As a COO or mayor, you don’t really want to deal with employee arguments. But, when this problem arises, you need to understand both employees’ mindsets and why they feel passionate enough to stand their ground. This is where frame of reference comes into play.
In approaching any conflict that might occur at work, the first thing you should do is keep frame of reference at the top of your mind. Never go into such a situation in an emotional manner, as this will cause you nothing but problems. Being able to understand where someone is coming from can get you a long way, and it doesn’t have to be hard if you allow yourself to see things from their perspective.
- Don’t Ignore Terminology & Slang, Embrace it.
As each new generation comes along, so does an entire collection of terms, phrases, and clichés. The way someone speaks can do a lot to define him or her.
Terminology exists for baby boomers, millennial, and every other generation, so why wouldn’t it be important to pay attention? If you don’t, you’re going to find yourself running into confusion.
While there are plenty of resources to put generational terminology into perspective, the best way you can learn how someone speaks is to interact with them on a daily basis. You may even find yourself picking up certain terms or phrases and using them yourself, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
- Teamwork & Collaboration
There’s nothing wrong with employees tackling projects individually, but when they work together, a universe of possibilities opens up.
Collaboration is exactly what it takes for great ideas and solutions to come to fruition, and it can also help boost productivity and time management.
Unfortunately, collaboration is occasionally stunted by generation gap in the workplace, although there are ways around this.
Promoting collaboration is something that can be approached in many different ways, but perhaps the most effective way is to make it a necessity. Tasking two or more individuals on a project is often the jumpstart people need to learn they can actually accomplish more by working together.
Even if there is an initial awkward period, most people find that working with those from other generations is a great way to learn and grow as a professional.
Managing generation gap in the workplace is all about empowering your employees and showing them respect.
Sticking to old routines can have a tendency to go against this, which is why you should re-evaluate the routines you currently have in place. Creating new routines may serve your organization and citizens well, bringing about higher rates of both productivity and employee engagement.
No matter how you cut it, you’re bound to run into scenarios where age gap has an impact on productivity. Instead of fearing these types of situations, you should take the time to embrace them. Use the tips presented above and things will begin to run a lot better. A big part of managing generation gap in the workplace is simply to be comfortable with it and understand how to approach it.
You might be interested in the following FREE resources:
What is a smart city?
Download our infographic to learn about how technology can make your municipality smarter and more efficient.