I hear so much in our culture about the differences in the generations. I even hear people identifying themselves by a generation. I think it’s wise to understand people’s differences but I think identifying someone’s behavior with a certain generation is no different than identifying them with a race, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin.
When I hear, “Millennials are the way they are because their parents spoiled them” or “Boomers can’t keep up with technology” I wonder how comfortable people would feel saying, “Hispanics are the way they are because their parents spoiled them” or “Catholics can’t keep up with technology.” Calling out by generation to make a point is elitist, discriminating and insulting.
When you find in a conflict that you are putting someone in a generational box before you characterize them ask yourself,
“What do they really need me to understand about them in this moment?”
Also, when someone else pulls the generational card to make a point you can say, “I don’t understand when you speak in generalities. What is the point you want me to understand about you in this instance?”
Stereotyping is segregating. It’s identifying by difference. Not all Gen X behave the same way nor do Gen Y. Read and understand the common differences as you would any personality type. Then meet people as WHO they are not WHAT they are. The best way to do this is to ask questions and listen. That means stop talking. See all people as people first. That’s humanity.
Here is a free tool to help you navigate your career in a complicated corporate setting: 31 Success Practices for Leaders in the High Stakes Corporate World.
P.S. Feel free to send this link to someone who could benefit from it. We are all walking down the same road in life.
Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and 18-year corporate CEO who helps leaders have more effective careers, happier lives and better relationships. Get her FREE Career and Life Planning Tool to be more effective, the leader everyone wants to work for and have a better connection with the people who matter while it still matters. If you don't know where you will be at the end of 2018, you are already there.
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