Imagine you gathered all of your colleagues together, placed all of your driver’s licenses in a bag, and shook them up. Upon pouring them out upon a table face-down, you were to grab one, and now that is you – that age, that mailing address, that perspective on life.
Here are the explosive questions you would be confronted with in determining if you can even grasp how your colleagues operate:
1. Could you understand that age’s vantage point?
2. Could you see how that age print would differ from how you think and feel (and thus operate)?
3. What have been some of that age points defining life experiences to date? Do those differ than your experiences?
4. Is it the Yellow Pages or YP.com? MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter, Texting, or _______?
5. Could you relate to that age print’s favorite music and television shows? Can you even list a few of either?
6. What are some of the favorite words or phrases that age print uses, as opposed to the favorite sayings of your generation? Does each have their own language?
Many times in our personal and professional lives we “rush to a judgment” and have tendencies of “judging the book by the cover,” and in these instances, the possibilities of what could have been may be lost. This is a powerful reality in the workplace today when we look at the generational perspectives, differences, and mode-of-operation when it comes to just the simplest of actions. Your ability to make a quiet connection with the other person in your circle, whether they are of a similar age or significantly different, will afford you the ability to:
1. Learn from them,
2. Enhance and add perspective you may otherwise not have had to your present operational knowledge set,
3. Determine how and when to best engage the other person and find ways to make communication connections with them,
4. Make them feel welcomed and valued,
5. Put the other person at ease and allow you to focus on your engagement agenda without being continually mentally distracted by the age-related variances in actions, dress, appearance, etc.
Excerpted from CPE Link instructor, Dr. Jeffrey Magee’s “Coaching for Impact: Generational Diversity of Organizations & Building Cohesive Winning Teams”