VitalSmarts research show generational tensions are pervasive in corporate America. Specifically, more than 1 in 3 people waste 5 or more hours each week (12% of their work week) due to chronic, unaddressed conflict between colleagues of different generations.
The two generations who struggle to get along the most are Baby Boomers (49 – 67 years old) and Millennials (13 – 33 years old). When they do work together, they experience:
• Dismissal of past experience
• Lack of discipline and focus
• Lack of respect
• Resistance to change or unwillingness to innovate
1 in 3 people waste 12% of their work week due to chronic, unaddressed conflict between colleagues of different generations.
1 in 4 people admit to avoiding conflict with colleagues of a different age.
But conflict is not isolated to just Baby Boomers and Millennials. Each age group harbors resentment for their colleagues. Specifically:
Baby Boomers complain that Gen Xers (34 48 years old) and Millennials lack discipline, focus, and are distracted. They also think Millennials lack commitment.
Gen Xers complain that Baby Boomers display resistant/dogmatic thinking and are sexist, defensive, incompetent, resistant to change, and lack creativity. They believe that Millennials are arrogant.
Millennials complain that Baby Boomers display resistant/dogmatic thinking, and are sexist, defensive, insensitive, slow to respond, resistant to change, incompetent, and lack creativity. They also believe Gen Xers have poor problem-solving skills and are slow to respond.
And on top of the resentment, there is a surprising level of incompetence among all generations to resolve concerns. Across all generations, 1 in 4 people admit to avoiding conflict with colleagues of a different age. Other trends include:
• Younger generations hesitate to hold older generations accountable.
• Millennials are the least confident in their ability to handle a difficult conversation.
• Older generations admit to losing their temper more easily. More than
TIPS FOR HOW TO CONFRONT A WORKPLACE BULLY
1. Make it safe. Begin by clarifying your respect as well as your intent to achieve a mutual goal.
2. Start with the facts. Describe your concerns facts first. Don’t lead with your judgments about their age or conclusions about their behavior. Start by objectively describing the actual behaviors that create problems.
3. Don’t pile on. If your colleague becomes defensive, pause and check in. Reassure him or her of your positive intentions and ask about concerns.
4. Invite dialogue. After sharing your concerns, encourage your colleague to share his or her perspective. Inviting dialogue will result in greater openness.