Workplace Demographics: “I don’t like them either.”

(This is the second half of Monday’s post on the generational divide, “They don’t like me.”) After my friend finished her second martini she said, “If I could replace everyone on my team with someone my age, even if it strained my budget, I’d do it.  I loathe the values, expressed attitudes, studied indifference, and equanimity of the entire group.”

Whoa!  Since I was picking up the tab I decided to give her some advice while she was subdued.  Here’s what any Boomer needs to know about working effectively and comfortably with millennials.

1.  Put your hurt feelings in an envelope and mail them to the dead letter box.  Confusing performance and attitude has unattractive, social worker overtones that you can’t afford.  You can’t replace them, even in the Great Recession without considerable cost and trouble and even Boomers are beginning to develop some millennial attitudes.  Boomers have been known to snigger at bosses who care about feelings.

2.  Be ruthless about performance standards. Fire anyone who doesn’t meet them.  It will make you feel better about the team if they are hard at work fulfilling your expectations.  If you focus on that you will get respect.  The most often voiced complaint about senior managers is their interest in the surrounds (attitudes) rather than the main event (production).

3.  Rethink your work-related emotional needs and take them to friends and family away from the office.  Your team doesn’t need to “support” you in any way other than doing a great job and speaking well of you to others.

4.  Your mantra should be, “None of this is personal.  They don’t dislike me personally because they don’t know me well enough.  They are responding to me in my role as a manager.”

5.  Understand the divide between your view of teamwork and theirs.  You believe we’re all working together.  They’re engaged in parallel play.  You think interaction is important.  They think having to assist (cover for) the least able is a travesty.  The person you see as most team minded is seen by them as needy — the ultimate unattractive quality.

There is another course of action should this one lack appeal.  You can hire only the children of immigrants who’ve been through our schools.  These second generation folk will behave like Boomers.  Unfortunately, there aren’t enough to go around but you can hire some.

None of this comforted my friend who still longs for copies of herself in the 70s or 80s.  Still, her career is as much at stake as the millennials unless she learns to manage them without angst.

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Related Posts:

Workplace Demographics: Fight or Flight?

“They Don’t Like Me”

Managing Conflicting Expectations

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Filed under Boomers, Millennials and GenX, Workforce Demographics