Growing up, my father always tried teaching me a variety of things: Tying my shoes, riding a bicycle, and eventually driving a car. As I got older, a shift began to occur within our relationship. I remember showing him how to upload music from his infinite stacks of cds into mp3 files, and most recently how to manage the nearly limitless functions of smartphones.
We hardly ever realized what we were truly teaching one another.
I’m sure everyone has been in situations similar to this. But there are times when we may get frustrated – we get so hung up on the differences between one another rather than viewing those differences as positive points.
There are many times where we feel misunderstood, but we never think of our own ideas as being less valuable. So why not invert that thought process with others, and avoid shooting down their ideas too quickly.
Transition this mindset from a personal to a professional setting.
At some point we are all the inexperienced, unfamiliar individual in a workplace. Taking a stroll down memory lane may help you remember what it felt like to be uncultivated – and it might just be the key to improving the communication between yourself and a new hire.
Don’t be a know-it-all
Sure, younger generations coming into the workplace may not know as much as you do about the particular job or issue, but don’t let yourself fall into the bad habit of always delegating.
Before just giving an answer to a particular problem, allow the person to speak freely. Assuming what the issue may be and prematurely responding may lead to even more confusion. Listen carefully: You’ll end up learning more about the employee’s thought process indirectly than the issue itself.
After giving them your full attention, follow up with reflective questions in order to try to navigate the employee through the situation while working towards a solution. This will not only help in the present, but will start to create a bridge that will support two-way communication.
Grow together, learn together
Establishing a strong exchange of communication is vital for a company’s culture and growth. Your voice is just as important as any others. While different, members of each generation bring something greatly valuable to the workplace. Forget the generational stereotypes of younger employees, especially of Millennials, and focus on drawing from them as much as they do from you.
The world is constantly changing, and getting creative and administrative input from younger employees helps to renew the well of wisdom older generations have accumulated.
Adaptation and acceptance are essential elements among a company’s team of employees, especially when gearing up to remain fresh and competitive as a business.
So, listen up!
Make sure you are truly listening to your employees – yes, even the younger, less experienced ones. It will help you get a handle on your team’s efficiency and further encourage their development as a unit.
Younger employees are no different than your seasoned ones; they all want to succeed, and it’s best to help each other get there.
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