It’s a challenge – working with people of all ages both in my regular training and coaching roles but also in my community volunteer work. Each age group is really quite different – disconnects and miscommunication happen all the time. We often don’t even realize that it’s a “generational thing”. But it actually all makes sense if we take the time to understand & appreciate the differences (and gifts) that each generation brings to the workplace.
All Ages Volunteering at the Red Cross
I’ve had the great opportunity to design and deliver a leadership training course to the American Red Cross, Northern Nevada Chapter both in 2010 and again this year. Tomorrow night’s materials will be fun – it’s all about how to work with volunteers of all five generations – common for the Red Cross. Each generation has its own motivations for wanting to work with the Red Cross and each generation brings its own talents, strengths and gifts to their volunteer work. But for new leaders it can be a stretch to know how to engage and motivate individuals who often are younger or older than themselves.
A Great Book & Resource
Here is where I would start . . . pick up this brand new book written by a father-daughter team in a lively conversational style. Generations, INC: From Boomers to Linksters – Managing the Friction Between Generations at Work, 2010, is packed with facts, historical research and practical, concrete suggestions for how to manage and work with each of the five generations. It’s current and relevant to today’s work world and our families as well. And it goes beyond just describing the generational differences (although I found that fasinating) to really teaching us as leaders how to bring out the best in this amazing diverse workforce.