Why Do We Have Workplace Culture Clashes? #TChat Recap

It’s the way we organize the universe.

We categorize and label everything; there’s just too much stuff out there and in our heads to manage otherwise.  We’d be blathering fools if we didn’t.

Sure, Mr. Steve Levy and I would agree that there are still too many blathering idiots in the world today, regardless of how organized they are, and they span generations.

Don’t look at us that way.

Generations — those categorizations we give to groups born over specific timeframes, like the Traditionalists (the silent generation), Baby Boomers, Gen X (the me generation, which is mine), Gen Y, Gen Z…

The over-arching question last night on #TChat was:  Do generations matter at work? The easy answer for most of those who participated was no, even though for many of us we know the answer is still unfortunately yes.

Kind of.

We expect the Traditionalists to be non-technical and Gen Y and Z to be, well, androids.  But that’s not the case — my 78-year-old dad is pretty darn good with computers, while I’ve met some young folk who couldn’t find their bottom from a hole in the ground (that’s my dad talking, not me).  No Justin Bieber fever here, and never in 3-D.

We expect our elders to be the more seasoned and smarter leaders and mentors in the workplace today, but there have been plenty of less experienced and younger, more emotionally intelligent leaders and mentors who’s impulse control trumps that of fallible old folks.

Don’t look at me that way.

Which is why mentoring shouldn’t be based on the supposed pro-rookie partnership; it should encompass bi-directional ages and experiences of all kinds.

Of course I’m speaking in generalities, but that’s the way I keep the universe organized.  The reality is we try to wrap macros around that which is unique to an individual, and when you try to wrap your head around that, you can get blathering-idiot syndrome.

But that’s now we’re supposed to recruiting and hire and develop — based on what is unique to the individual that helps to fill a specific role in a company.  I really liked the way Jillian Walker summed it up last night:

Recruit > hire on ability; Engage > determine wants; Manage > be flexible; Lead > push their limits, encourage best of the best.

Hey, the opacity in the world and the workplace is getting thinner, allowing for more of the now clichéd “transparency” to light our way.

The new transparency allows the light to shine where it never shone before.  Now, that’s not always a good thing, but more often than not, it keeps most of us honest when it comes to revealing our experience and knowledge and where the “skills” gaps are (LinkedIn profiles, blogs).  Although this is a stereotypical trend since most younger generations brought up online and in social media embrace transparency easier than older generations.  And there are still lots of folks who don’t play online, across generations.  Just check out the stats and demographics at Pew Internet.

Because we label is why we have workplace culture clashes, which is why I prefer Gen Zen, especially in our highly integrated work/life globally dispersed worlds.

I agree with Matt Charney and how he put it all together in his preview:  It  turns out that generations in the workplace share more in common than a workplace.

Indeed it does.

Mercy, it was a record turnout last night on #TChat — over 300 fine folk participated during the hour.  Thank you everyone!  Check out last night’s transcript and here were the questions we asked:

  • Q1)  What myths exist about workplace generational dynamics? Generational realities?
  • Q2)  Are there emerging personality traits, skill sets for hiring GenY, GenX, Baby Boomers, etc.?
  • Q3)  Who is currently the most “invisible” generation in the workplace and why? Most “visible”?
  • Q4) How do savvy workplace cultures recruit, engage, manage and lead all generations?
  • Q5) How does new media and global connectivity help/hinder generational gaps in the workplace?
  • Q6) How can inter-generational workforces spark innovation and evolve culture?
  • Q7) How does the term “reverse mentoring” help bridge generational divides in the workplace?

Thanks again everyone for joining us last night!  We’re taking next week off (March 8), so we’ll see you the week after on March 15.

Join the conversation live every Tuesday night as co-hosts with Kevin Grossman and Meghan M. Biro from 8-9 PM E.T. via @monster_works and @MonsterWW.  Hope to see you next time on March 15 at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

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