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College Guide on How to Effectively Work with Older Generation
Eventually, you will have to get out of university and work. And while you think you are ready, you will realize that there is so much to learn. The processes are different, and your peers are not within the same generation. And that can lead to further challenges. Generation gap is real, and misunderstandings could arise.
Unfortunately, many people do not know how to handle these things. Instead of finding common ground, they will try to prove who’s the better employee. And yes, this could result in chaos. That’s precisely the reason why we’ve decided to write this article. Even if you are still in college, we’ll share with you how you can manage generation gap issues. That way, you will be able to work seamlessly with anyone.
Reach Out to Them and Introduce Yourself
There’s nothing wrong with making the first move. If you are just starting to work, make it a habit to introduce yourself to your peers. You don’t have to be best friends, but try to reach out and let them know that you want to know them.
Practice Removing Stereotypes
The reason why there is conflict in the workplace is that we tend to stereotype people from different generations. For example, millennials are called out for being entitled. Others think baby boomers as someone with outdated work styles. While in some cases it could be true, we should never generalize.
From now on, you must look at the person as an individual and not a part of a generation. Acknowledge their strengths and not their weaknesses.
If an older person is not tech-savvy enough, don’t take it against them. Instead, ask if they need help. There is no need to mock them for not knowing the most updated software.
Ask for Help
Naturally, the younger generation would instantly Google things if they are unsure of the answers. However, you can always use this opportunity to talk to the older generation. Perhaps, ask them about the current practices. They will appreciate that you are asking for help and that alone can earn their respect.
Acknowledge Their Expertise
Remember, the older generation lived in a different time. They didn’t have the sophisticated technology that we have now. However, they are the ones who helped in creating the empires we know today. That means, they did it with blood, sweat, and perseverance.
As a newbie in the industry, you can also benefit from their ‘primitive’ techniques. Ask them how they accomplished their milestones before, and who knows if you can build technology out of that.
Listen to What They Have to Say
Sometimes, when we feel that an idea is already outdated, we tend to close our ears right away. But, you have to treat everyone with respect. Listen to what the older generation has to say. And if you think your idea is better, you can always share it in a respectful way.
Never embarrass them just because your idea seems to be better. Again, there’s no need to compete. You are working in the same organization, and you have to work together. Practice being assertive instead of being aggressive.
Invite Them Over Lunch
It’s always good to build a good relationship among your peers, and this shouldn’t exclude the older generation. You can invite them for lunch, or even a late-night out. Don’t make them feel that they don’t belong just because they are older.
Talk to Your Human Resource Department
Now, if you believe the older generation is abusing their authority over you, just stay calm. Deal with it professionally and raise it to your human resource department. Let them know about your experiences so they can help you bridge the gap.
Act on it as early as possible because it’s hard to work in a company where you are not comfortable collaborating with other employees.
Working with the older generation is not as hard as you think. Sure there will be times that your ideas, beliefs, and practices will clash. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find common ground. You must show your respect, and the same shall be given to you. Be consistent and sooner or later, you will have fun working with older people. You will realize that they have valuable inputs and that they are essential in the organization.
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