A team consisting of five different generations is bound to have a few hiccups in how they function. In general, multi-generation teams are more likely to have conflicts and misunderstandings – on the other hand, multi-generational teams have untapped potential and experience unique to their generations.
While some leaders don’t have the patience to navigate a multi-generational team, it’s relatively easy to begin taking the necessary steps to create the seamless, skilled team you need. Here’s what you need to do:
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
The biggest roadblock to successfully managing a multi-generational team is a lack of communication – or even worse, miscommunication. Communication is key to a functional work environment, even more so when your team ranges in age.
Team members should be encouraged to communicate their preferences openly, without fear of reproach from another generation. Listing preferences – and expressing the why behind those preferences – can assist team members in creating lines of communication that don’t offend each other.
Embrace the Hybrid Work Model
Five different generations are used to working in five different environments. Try embracing the hybrid work model instead of worrying about which work style and environment will work best for the team.
A hybrid work model is an option for teams that don’t have a “one-shoe-fits-all” solution available. It allows team members to work in a way that satisfies their needs, whether that’s working remotely, working at the office 24/7, or working a mix of both.
Play to Team Member Strengths
Others might not agree, but you’ve been granted one of the best teams possible. Multi-generational is a synonym for multi-faceted, multi-talented, and multi-disciplined. Your team can complete tasks from nearly anywhere in the spectrum, and the secret is to discover and play to their strengths.
It’s easy to give up on a team that doesn’t understand what the members contribute, both as a leader and fellow team member. Identifying a team member’s strength, playing to it, and building it into your team workflow will develop a better workflow and work environment in the future – even if it involves a little trial and error to start.
Encourage Co-Worker Connections
Your team members should know more about each other than their names, faces, job title, and age. Encourage your team members to go for coffee co-working sessions or take their lunch break together. Team members should be able to comfortably talk to one another rather than feel like strangers.
If team members don’t take the initiative to build connections past first impressions, schedule a monthly or bi-weekly outing where team members are able to speak freely. You may even want to try a formal team-building activity as the official icebreaker before working on more complicated projects.
Fight Against Generational Stereotypes
It’s very easy for your team members to believe in generational stereotypes without taking the time to realize if it’s actually true. Stereotypes are harmful in all interactions, but especially so in a team. Team members avoid situations where they believe other team members can’t perform well, which leads to unfounded resentment in doing the work without them. This is another that can be solved with frequent interaction and ensuring good communication exists between members.
If you’re ready to clear barriers and drive success in your business, connect with Stellapop for team and process management today.