Talking to Boomers

Nov 21, 2022
Image by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

This week, the 2 Minute Tip is examining differences in the way the generations communicate at work. And, yes, it’s necessary to make some generalizations.

In Mad Men, when Peggy tells Don she’s upset about him not thanking her for her recent work, he says, “That’s what the money’s for!” Watch the clip. It will help you understand how Boomers show up at work.

Baby Boomers grew up during the turmoil of the 1960s and the Vietnam War. They’re used to strict, stable, and centralized hierarchies and are just fine with regularly scheduled, formal performance reviews.

Boomers tend to be goal-oriented and value personal growth, but they dislike even the appearance of disloyalty or disrespect, especially from younger generations.

Need to give a Boomer feedback?

Try positioning your conversation around them meeting a goal or objective, and give them the tools to do it. If your talk feels more like a growth opportunity than a negative review, they will take it well.

Rather than positioning it as, “I need to talk to you about why you didn’t do _______,” reposition it as “I think that _____ could really help you ______.”

If you’re a younger employee giving feedback to an older colleague or even your boss, it can help to acknowledge the older person’s experience. Boomers expect respect and give it out only when earned.


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