Dear Carnegie Coach:
I have been working in advertising for the same company for about 20 years. Throughout my time here I have enjoyed the relationships I’ve built with many different kinds of people. Recently my company hired a new employee straight out of college. To this point I have not been able to connect with him in any way. I know that there is a little bit of a generational gap between us, but it is important that we are able to communicate and work together. Do you have any advice on how I could connect and communicate with my new coworker?
Today’s workforce may be comprised of as many as four generations working side-by-side and connecting with each other may present a challenge. Each generation has their unique mindset, work style, and ways of communicating. This being the case, working and communicating across generations has become vital to building a cohesive, productive, and successful team. Here are some principles that will allow you to connect with your coworker.
· Do not be condescending – You need to make sure that you show your coworker respect through the language that you choose to use when speaking to him.
· Constantly seek their feedback – A person from this generation will most likely see things different than you. You want to make sure that you take into consideration what their thoughts are on projects so you can appeal to a wider range of people.
· Use humor – Humor is always a good way to break down barriers between two people. As long as it is tasteful, humor can be a very successful way to strengthen your communication with a coworker.
· Encourage outside the box thinking – Try to bring out the creativity from your coworkers any chance you get.
· Use email, texting and instant messaging as your primary communication tools – These are the forms of communication that this generation of workers will be most comfortable with, and you will generally get a quick response.