by Joel Goldstein
As we Millennials move into leadership roles, communication and comprehension are becoming more and more important to everyday conversations, phone calls and emails. If you are leading a multi-generational team of Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials you must be attune to how each generation perceives your communication differently.
When I consult with clients, we often employ some unorthodox methods of testing leadership qualities across the generations. Some day soon, you may realize that you are the youngest and by far least experienced member on a new team. You should view this as an opportunity. The existing leadership is probably testing how you communicate with your team members on this project to determine if you should be groomed for a leadership position or potentially receive a promotion.
To start a conversation in a multi-generational group, here are three key points to remember:
1. Start with questions
Start your conversation from a perspective of collaboration. Make sure the more experienced members of your team are posed the first questions. Tap into their experience by asking, “Have you ever encountered a problem similar to this?”
2. Listen completely before responding
One thing that drives a Baby Boomer crazy is being interrupted by a “know-it-all.” Avoid this by listening completely, this means to wait until that awkward silence after they finish their response before responding with a follow-up question, or transition.
3. Be humble to others experience
The most important thing to others in your group is the feeling that their contributions are being heard and fairly analyzed. Though some contributions may be outside the scope of the project, as the leader it is important that you listen to their idea completely and take opinions of the whole team before making sweeping decisions.
Have you ever had a younger leader in your team? How did they handle their position? In your opinion what would you suggest they change to have done a better job communicating across the generational gap? Tell us in the comment section below.
Joel Goldstein is a world-renowned speaker, best-selling author and leadership consultant. Joel works with companies to develop systems that allow them to train, retain and develop their future leaders. Joel has spoken at meetings and conferences around the world training top executives communications strategies to effectively work with younger generations.
He has been featured as an expert in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, CNBC and ABC News. To book Joel to speak for your next meeting or event, visit JoelGoldstein.com to download a complete information packet for meeting planners.
Courtesy of Joel Goldstein