Do You Think People Act In A Certain Way Because Of Their Generation? Well, That Is Not Quite The Case.
What do you think about millennials? Are they ‘confident’ or ‘impatient’? How about baby boomers? And generation Z? What kind of impression resonates from these categories of generations?
As of 2022, you are likely to be working in an environment that is multigenerational, including baby boomers, generation X, millennials, and generation Z. Here is an easy way to distinguish each generation, according to the Pew Research Center, that is often talked about in the workplace.
- Silents: born between 1928-1945
- Baby boomers: born between 1946-1964
- Generation X: born between 1965-1980
- Millennials: born between 1981-1996
- Generation Z: born between 1997-2012
Conversations around these generation categories often involve stereotypical ‘features’ of each generation. Interestingly, evidence shows that people in older generations have similarly complained about their younger counterparts in various times of history for over 2000 years. Well, it is not difficult to imagine because you probably have heard the saying, “Young people these days…” from people who are older than you.
GENERATIONS: NOT SO REAL
However, are these ideas of generations, or the so-called characteristics of these generations real? I don’t think so. Even though one belongs to a specific generation that is defined by some researchers, each individual has a unique personality and different circumstances in their life. So, we cannot easily bundle people together as a generation because they all come from different backgrounds and have personal stories.
The Ted Talk speaker Leah Georges points out that even though these generations’ span is roughly 20 years, those within the 20-year period are said to share the same values, characteristics, and stereotypes of themselves. Being considered to be a generation Z myself, I do not believe that I share the same values with a 10-year-old person, or even with my friend at my age.
How Is This Topic Relevant To Your Workplace?
If the ideas of generations are not so real, you may wonder why we need to address this issue in the workplace. The answer is, because generation gaps in a working environment can be, and should be, abolished.
Leah Georges explains how these stereotypical ideas are so embedded into our culture that people begin to act as part of their generation. This, I believe, makes the generational gaps. Blaming people’s generation for their seemingly unreasonable behaviour in their office is easy, but it would make thick barriers among your staff.
Therefore, the Ted Talk speaker suggests we ‘meet people where they are’ in the workplace.
“When you meet people in their onlyness, that spot in the world only they stand, we’re not talking about a generation anymore… Pick a person, and explore their onlyness. Then learn. And in the moments where it’s appropriate, teach. And figure out what they bring to work that no one else can bring to work, because that’s what makes work richer… And then someday, we’re not working with generations anymore. We’re working with people.”
We may easily forget that we work with ‘people’ because we can be so many things that it is easier to categorise ourselves than to look at each individual as unique and different. One can be a daughter, a mother, an employee, and a millennial at the same time. Hence, it is very important for us to recognise ourselves in our ‘onlyness’, where we are.
Unique Team Building facilitators can help you organise an activity for your staff to learn about each other and where they stand in this huge world.
Email us or call 07 3186 1026 today to design a rich and unique experience for your company.