Are you a Boomer-AB? Maybe you’re a Gen X-I. Or are you a Red-Traditionalist?
Great. … I’ve learned that I hate details and have a constant need for praise. Now that I’ve learned that my boss only cares about results and has a mistrust for institutions, what do I do?
Organizations lose value every time we do a workshop, lunch and learn, or retreat with no follow up, no action plan and no way to incorporate what we’ve learned into our organizational culture. The knowledge is only valuable if it’s put to use. We can’t expect to change behaviors or attitudes in the course of a brief learning session. We can only gain understanding in that time.
For such such sessions to have any long-term value, the language of generations and communication styles has to become a part of the organization’s language. Here are three possible ways to make that happen:
- Share what you’ve learned about yourself. This can be as simple as posting everyone’s generation and communication style on their office door.
- Incorporate what you’ve learned into your meetings. At Catch Your Limit, before we host a meeting — whether internally or with a client — we have a discussion about the other people who will be at the meeting in which we consider their communication style and any generational differences. For us, it plays a role in how we deliver the information, how we interact and it guides us in how we conduct the meeting. It dictates whether we lead with research and process or instead choose to focus on the results of a particular initiative.
- Promote diversity in hiring. We use communication styles to determine who we will add to our team. We recently hired a new member to our team, and a major factor in making that decision was shoring up some weaknesses we had in terms of communication styles. We had people-people, idea-people, results-people but no process-people. Further, because we knew the strengths of our new hire’s communication style, we were able to create a role that is connected to those strengths. And if we have internal conflict, we ask ourselves if it is possible that this conflict is coming from a communication style difference or a generational difference.
How are you integrating what you know about your staff’s communication style into your organization’s culture? Share your thoughts in the comments of this post, and the best suggestions will be featured in the daily SmartBrief on Workforce.
Photo, Jeff Brainard