I've been studying generational differences for the last 13 years and have presented on this topic numerous times. I just started reading Sherri Elliot's, 'Ties To Tatoos.' There is so much information on the importance of understanding generational differences and how these differences effect workforce performance, retention and learning, but very rarely do I hear anyone discussing the need for strategies to deal with these differences. If you read Elliot's book, it should scare just about every employer. We always talk about engagement, but very rarely do we discuss Generational differences, why?
Cella Consulting asserts that a multi-generational workplace requires a flexible leadership style and always keeping an eye out for emerging conflicts. Today's workplace consists of three generations of workers: the baby boomers, generation X and the millenials. The role of a leader in such a workplace is to create an environment that supports the team members and business goals. A one-size-fits-all approach to leadership in such a workplace cannot work.
An effective leader in a multi-generational workplace should seek to adjust his attitudes about rewards, communication preferences, work styles and motivators to suit the different generations. The first step is to start conversations about the needs of the different generations and create an open discussion atmosphere. The leader should make it his goal to understand the primary motivators for each generation and provide different options to meet the needs of each. He should also exploit the strengths of each generation by encouraging different perspectives and ideas, which leads to innovation. The leaders should encourage the different generations to express their individuality instead of forcing them to conform to some set standards. Since members of the different generations have different communication preferences, he should find unique ways to communicate with each.