Guest post from Ruth Klein:
Much has been written about generational tension in the workplace. As is often the case, the tension stems from a fundamental misunderstanding. And, like most misunderstandings, perception issues and a lack of communication are at the very heart of it. As leaders, we have to understand what’s true about those we lead. Believing a misconception will keep us from doing our best and that’s not acceptable.
So, let’s take a look at just one misconception. Baby Boomers complain that Millennials are too high maintenance, they need a lot of attention, and they only want to do work that is part of their overall life mission and purpose. Perhaps all of that is true, but, as it turns out it’s not just true of Millennials, or Boomers or Gen X’ers. It’s true for every demographic. Who among us does this not describe?
Actually, The Boomers, Gen X’ers and The Millennials have more in common than they think.
For example, The Baby Boomers today are changing careers, doing the things they’ve always wanted to do and starting second and third acts, and they have the health and the time to do them, unlike the generation of Traditionalists before them. Generation X’ers are also changing careers as often as necessary to find fulfillment and grow. Boomers see this as a lack of stability and commitment in Millennials. But, the fact is, Boomers are the ones that started this trend, way back in the Sixties. Maybe they’ve forgotten and that’s understandable. It’s been a while.
There are other similarities and commonalities among all three—Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials: