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Q. What is one practical tip for managing employees who have a significantly different worldview than yours — culturally or generationally, for instance?
A mistake I made early in my career was being annoyed by employees who were so generationally different that I couldn’t get through to them. Bluntly speaking, I had a major attitude problem and being annoyed was an indicator of a problem on my end — not theirs. Once I got over myself and spent more time with them, I unlocked their potential within our company that my pride would have prevented. — Seth Talbott, Preferling
Having employees of different ages and different backgrounds can be a difficult task when aligning goals and fitting company culture. Understanding where they are coming from and being willing to learn about their backgrounds is a great way to show that you appreciate them. Once you understand, help them understand how they benefit the company in a positive way so they don’t feel alone. — Kenny Nguyen, Big Fish Presentations
It’s important to understand how colleagues like to work and adjust your work style to fit some of their needs and behavioral preferences. On the flip side, remind them to do the same with you. We have new employees complete questionnaires where they share how they like to work and which habits bother them. This gives us insight into why they behave the way they do. — Susan Strayer LaMotte, Exaqueo
Regardless of cultural, generational or geographical differences, a startup is one team. At a startup, the team — whether in the same physical office and from the same background or spread out across the world — is “hunting elephants” together. You must operate as one, or you will never succeed in a space where the odds are already against you. A shared mission solves all else. — Danny Boice, Speek
Set expectations, and be as clear as you can. You should let them know what you are expecting, regardless of your differences. It’s always important to make sure to listen to their points, but make it clear you will be the one deciding. — Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME
I’m naturally an interviewer. Knowing that everyone has a different point of view and figuring those out is important. You need to be able to ask questions so you can understand those points of view. It’s a really beneficial managing skill. I’ve experienced hiccups only when I didn’t take the time to understand the people I’ve worked with. — Rakia Reynolds, Skai Blue Media
In order to manage employees effectively, you have to understand where they’re coming from. There’s no better way to do that than to read what they read. Focus on publications that showcase everyday life, such as daily newspapers or novels. You’ll catch nuances you’d never be privy to otherwise. — Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work
Pausing and thinking before you speak is advice we should all heed more closely, but it is especially important for managers who don’t instantly relate to employees. Taking time to pause and think about how you will phrase a goal, feedback or instruction is important; the clearer your message is, the better. Use those seconds to mold and tailor your message for each individual in the group. — Kim Kaupe, ZinePak
Every single person on the planet has lived their life and has a view of the world based on their experiences. Sharing my worldview as well as asking, listening and understanding the world view of your team member allows me to understand the lends through which they view the world. Being able to view things though their lens helps me to lead, inspire and encourage them. — Matt Shoup, MattShoup.com
Remaining open-minded is the key for me. Working with people from all sorts of backgrounds and world views has forced me to challenge the beliefs and assumptions I bring to work and life. I may not agree with folks on every issue, but I don’t enter a conversation with my mind already made up.