Improve Upside-Down Reporting Relationships
By Phyllis Weiss Haserot
Generations are defined by similar formative influences - social, cultural, political, and economic - that exist while individuals of particular birth cohorts are in their adolescent to early adult years. Given that premise, the approximate birth years for each of the four generations currently in the workplace are:
- Traditionalists: Born between1925 and 1942
- Baby Boomers: Born between 1943 and 1962
- Generation X: Born between 1963 and 1978
- Generation Y/Millennials: Born between 1979 and 1998
- Establish common goals. Focus on the purpose of your work.
- Be open to new ideas and methods. Don't obsess on differences in how you were taught, what has always served you as the best method, or whether the manager has preconceived notions about how you think and operate.
- Be generous about giving advice - when asked. Create a nonthreatening environment so you'll be asked for advice. Don't be pedantic about advice and unsolicited opinions.
- Seek out younger coworkers and learn from them in a mentoring partnership.
- Find opportunities to disprove myths and perceptions of older workers.
- Be appreciative of how your young manager supports you and provides tools to allow you to achieve top results.
- Be clear about preferred communication styles and media and about appropriate boundaries.
- Identify the younger manager's motivations.
- Be appreciative of recognition you're given and reciprocate.
- Keep in mind the purpose of your work. What are the common goals for team members?
- Show respect for experience (someday you'll be the experienced, older person). Ask for advice, even if you think you know what the best approach is. Invite input and listen.
- Build allies among the older generations on your team for advice and support.
- Surmount "just-a-kid" perceptions through your performance and involving others. Use your collaborative skills and don't make a show of coveting praise and credit.
- Get your older team members what they need to do their jobs well - resources, approvals, etc. (that will help them make you look good).
- Give seasoned team members freedom, but establish boundaries and communications requirements up front.
- Identify what motivates each individual and what type of recognition is meaningful to each.
- Give appropriate credit to others and arrange for their recognition.
- Gen X and Y Bring Assets to Business Development
- Cross-Generational Issues: How to Develop and Deliver Perspective
Voice of the Editor
Which isn’t completely true. I mean, occasionally I drop by when I manage to sneak out of the nonstop frat party over at Going Concern, but I’m mostly a wallflower over there. I’m happy to say that I’ve been given express permission (or explicit orders, if you like) to wander over here to AccountingWEB more often.
Why is that, you might ask? My job is to replace the irreplaceable Gail Perry as Editor-in-Chief. What does that mean? I don’t really know! I think it’ll be fun getting a feel for things, throwing in my own thoughts here and there, and listening to the discussions you’re having about the accounting profession.