Getting Along With Boomers—a Crash Course for Gen Zers
Each generation has unique cultural and societal experiences that shape how they approach work and life.
- Generation Z workers have grown up in a fast-paced, technologically advanced world where multitasking and adaptability are highly valued.
- Baby Boomers generally have a more traditional approach to work and value stability and experience.
- Generation X workers are typically independent, self-reliant, and almost as experienced as Boomers.
Getting along with coworkers from older generations can be challenging at times. Just as two people speaking different languages need to find a way to bridge the communication gap, different generations of workers must find a way to communicate and work together effectively. Gen Z workers may need to slow down and take the time to learn from the experience and wisdom of older generations, while Gen X workers and Baby Boomers may need to be open to new ideas and approaches brought by the younger generation.
What else can you do to bridge the communication gap with “more seasoned” generations in the workplace?
- Listen actively. Boomers tend to value face-to-face communication and appreciate it when someone takes the time to listen to them. When you’re talking to a Boomer, give them your full attention and show that you’re engaged in the conversation. Avoid interrupting or multitasking, and ask questions to show interest in their perspective.
- Find common ground. While it’s true that Boomers grew up in a different era, there are still plenty of topics that can bridge the generation gap. Ask your Boomer friend about their hobbies or interests, or share something you’re passionate about. You might be surprised at how much you have in common.
- Be respectful. Even if you disagree with a Boomer’s views, it’s important to show respect for their life experiences and perspectives. Avoid making sweeping generalizations or assumptions about what Boomers think or believe, and try to find common ground where you can have a productive conversation.
- Share your perspective. While Boomers may have a wealth of life experience, they often appreciate learning from younger generations. If you have a different perspective on a topic, don’t be afraid to share it respectfully. Chances are, your Boomer colleague will appreciate hearing your point of view.
- Embrace differences. Finally, it’s important to remember that generational differences can be a strength. Embracing diversity can lead to creative solutions and new ways of thinking.
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