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Berger Blog

Expanding the discussion of Generatonal issues in organizations, Leadership, and Individual & Professional Growth.

Engaging and Informing

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I was recently at a conference talking about the Generational lens of dealing with conflict resolution and mediation, and the conversation turned to informing and engaging. We had a pretty good conversation about the different ways each generational group needed to be given information and the different ways each group wants to be included.

A Boomer participant in her mid-50s explained that for her, it was, “Tell me when to show up, tell me what we’re going to do, and tell me where to sign the agreement. Anything beyond that just makes things a lot more difficult to manage.”

The 23-year old Millennial, who had been thrust in to an HR Manager role – while still in Grad School working on her Masters – sat by shaking her head. “You’ve got to be kidding!” she retorted, half-playful, half-horrified. “That would never work for me or for anyone I know,” she went on.

“I want to know what’s at stake. I want to be a part of creating the agreement, finding a time and place I’m happy with,” the younger woman continued. To her, being told when and where to show up and being expected to sign on the dotted line is something that would never pass.

And herein lies yet another example of two of our three major generational groups missing things that are obvious to each of them. It isn’t about knowing that all of the Millennials need to be checking in with and engaged at every step of the process – although that isn’t a bad idea, to a degree. Nor is it to just assume that the needs of the situation will simply be accepted. The reality is that there is a little bit of both.

We need to understand that the “others” have some different needs and different expectations, and to not be aware of those expectations and look for ways to meet them – proactively! – is just going to make things harder than they need to be.

posted by Michael Berger, 10:39 AM


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