What is the culture that Baby Boomers/Generation X can share?
LBB/GX bring a culture of quality, work ethic, and reciprocal relationships, in which the organisation and the employee work together to achieve a common goal. Through mentoring, they can help Millennials learn crucial people skills—such as empathy, adaptability, group dynamics, employee motivation, communication styles, and relationship building—as well as management and leadership styles. They can therefore increase the odds that younger Millennials will be successful in a future management or leadership role.
LBB/GX can show new Millennial managers that goals will not be easily solved by pursuing motivations that served them in the past as individual contributors; that, as a leader, you have to consider what is best for the team.
What is the culture that Millennials can share?
Millennials are technological natives with a passion for learning. They have fresh ideas that come from collaboration and are less proprietary with those ideas. They are authentic—and authenticity breeds trust. They also care about the environment and other people, which is one of the best ways to build a successful business.
Built into this culture is a higher tolerance for risk that allows them to try new things with fewer reservations. In addition, they are not afraid to fail. In fact, this generation understands innately that to fail is a prerequisite for success. They will give it their all, and if they are not successful, they will keep trying until they get it right.
This culture is just what LBB/GX need at this stage of their career—a renewed passion to learn and grow, take more risk, collaborate and be authentic, and see success as more than just a personal phenomenon.
How can these two groups share a culture?
It is up to LBB/GX to realize the path we are all going down together, and to bring these two groups together to learn from each other. It needs to be a reciprocal relationship
There are many things that LBB/GX and Millennials share already. For instance, Gen Xers like to make quick, decisive decisions. And Millennials love it when they can run with a project. Both groups have also adopted technology—LBB/GX out of practicality, if not love, and Millennials as just the natural order of things. This makes it possible for these two groups to share a good connection to drive for success. They also highly prize individual contribution to a business, are ambitious and adaptive, and put a high priority on work-life balance.
So, what can each bring to the other?
1. Find and mentor a promising Millennial, and really impart the knowledge, judgment, and understanding they have gained.
2. Delegate and let them run with new projects. Teach them to collaborate, but not confer for hours when a decision must be made. The next generation of leaders needs to be more autonomous and look less to others for guidance.
3. Begin to take the opportunity immediately to learn something new, especially related to technology.
4. Begin to take more risk in decisions to gain new work experiences.
5. Listen to Millennials and implement some of their new (risky) ideas or ways of doing things.
1. Teach an LBB/GX some new technology and ways of working.
2. Encourage an LBB/GX to try new ways to approach problems by making suggestions backed up with suggestions, solid reasoning or data, which will help them to gain credibility.
3. Spend time with an LBB/GX and observe how they navigate a business’s political climate, how they work with and influence other managers or leaders and how they communicate up and down.
4. Take on a critical project. This will show everyone concerned that they are interested in helping the business and, if they complete the project successfully, will position them as a person who gets things done. That is reputation gold.
5. Spend some time learning about emotional intelligence. Learn from an LBB/GX, or study about it and practice it in the workplace. This topic cannot be overrated. People drive the success (or failure) of every organisation, and this is one of the key skills of every true leader.