Guest Post by Kyle Willkom
Why do we always focus on the differences? While understanding generational differences is important, there are certain principals that must be timeless; these principles should help managers and employees say, “What’s the same?” and I believe these principals can set the stage for great intergenerational relationships within any organization.
Three Timeless Principles
The list could go on, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll focus on three principals that can set a foundation for intergenerational relationships:
Principle 1: Respect.
Everyone wants it, few do a great job giving it. I have heard from numerous baby boomers and Generation X individuals that young people nowadays don’t give enough respect to superiors. Interestingly enough, members of Generation Y often feel the same lack of respect from these superiors! This culture of disrespect can move in a circle and can be detrimental to intergenerational relationships.
What’s the solution? Easy. Start giving respect. It doesn’t matter if you feel disrespected, there is a reason the saying “The more you give, the more you get” came about! Respect starts with you, and you may realize that others reflect your respectful nature in future conversations. This culture of respect can set a great foundation for better organizational communication and intergenerational effectiveness.
Principle 2: Understanding.
Styles of communication do not only differ based on generation but also on an individual level! Understanding why those around you communicate the way they do will help you create great relationships. Many will tell you, “Treat others the way you want to be treated;” it is, after all, the golden rule. However, I think there is a better rule (we’ll call it the platinum rule), which is, “Treat others the way THEY want to be treated.”
Understanding the communication styles of those around you is essential to generating lasting relationships.
Principle 3: Action.
How many times do individuals get in trouble for going above and beyond or communicating TOO well? Hopefully, the answer to that question is: rarely. Productivity is an inherent positive that is recognized by those in any generation.
Allowing your actions to speak for themselves will help establish a positive personal brand which will set a lasting impression with members of any generation.
Ask: “What’s the Same?”
The next time you find yourself thinking, “What’s different?” backtrack a few steps and ask, “What’s the same?” If the foundational principles listed above are not present, there may be changes you can make to establish a better foundation for your intergenerational communication.
Kyle Willkom is an energetic and insightful author and keynote speaker that keeps audiences laughing while they learn. He excels in his ability to engage youth audiences with his accents, music, and entertaining stories. Kyle empowers audiences and readers to become strong leaders and practice the five lessons in his book, Wake Up Call-5 Essential Lessons They Won’t Teach You in School.
Join the Conversation
What do you think about these three principles? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments!