Generational differences

Nov 21, 2022
Image by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

A client recently told me that while giving a young employee what he thought was gently delivered, helpful, constructive criticism, she had an emotional breakdown, saying she felt threatened and needed a safe space. He confided that he didn’t know how to connect with his youngest employees, who are so easily upset and offended.

In The Laws of Human Nature, Robert Green explains how each generation interprets the world differently, often as a break from their parents, which leads to intergenerational differences and very different ways of communicating. We are seeing this play out in today’s workplace. 

But, as we say in our workshops, it’s the message sender’s responsibility to ensure the message was received and understood. 

My client may have been more effective by first affirming the young employee before delivering his feedback, or doing it in private. He may have benefitted from contrasting, the feedback formula, or using questions to coach.  

At the same time, the young employee seems to have conflated the meaning of “unsafe” with “uncomfortable.” (Unfortunately, we have to spend time on this in our workshops). 

This week the 2 Minute Tip will explore a few of the different ways that Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers, communicate differently, starting with tomorrow’s post on how to give feedback to Boomers. 

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