We’ve always known about generational differences in what people say versus what they mean. Here are some take-aways for managers struggling to deliver a consistent message to a diverse group. Boomers often use softeners when they speak while younger people are direct to the point of bluntness. Of barriers to inter-generational understanding, communication style has to be number one.
Here are some examples cross-generational communication styles.
Rather than letting “people work things out for themselves” — an often painful and divisive process — here are three de-foggers for managers.
1. “Give me an example.” Why guess what the person thinks or wants? Get clarity.
2. “Has that worked for you?” Separate trial baloons from well thought out ideas.
3. “What would make you want to do a better job?” The response is never predictable but often provides insight into an individual’s motivation.
The beginning of management wisdom is the realization that testing beats guessing every time and the understanding that they are not ‘just like me.”
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