Young Blood Vs Grey Hair @ WORK

Young Blood Vs Grey Hair @ WORK

 AGE and experience have always been revered in oriental societies like India. This was true not just in the social context but also in the corporate sector. In most companies, more so among public sector units, age has a direct correlation with seniority in the organisation.

But it''s changing fast as globalization and technology are changing the rules of the game. With a heavy thrust on performance, experience no longer carries the premium it once used to. Fresh thinking and ability to adapt and learn on the job are becoming very important. Not surprisingly, many seasoned executives find themselves overtaken by relatively young fresh graduates. 

This shift of power generates heat and friction at the workplace. The experienced lot isn''t exactly thrilled at taking instructions from someone much younger. The younger lot, brimming with new ideas and raring to go, often feels bogged down by the friction that age experience dynamics generate at the workplace.

The conflict arises usually because of a clash in mindsets. The older lot tends to view the younger bosses as a bunch of inexperienced, impulsive upstarts with little regard for age or wisdom. The younger ones, on their part, tend to think of the former as outdated, low on ambition and resistant to fresh ideas.

Here''s our guide to managing heat and friction at the workplace between younger and older executives.

  • Be sensitive
    With so much age gap, there''s an obvious difference in attitude, mindset and approach to work and life. This is generation gap playing out at the workplace and both generations need to handle this with care and tact. This is particularly true for the younger lot who are at the forefront.

    They need to keep in mind the fact that it''s far more difficult for the older lot to change than the younger ones. Nobody likes being bossed over, certainly not when it''s the younger lot bossing over the older ones.

    A little patience and some sensitivity while communicating with them can go a long way. Making the older lot feel important and their experience invaluable to the organization is important.
  • Be flexible
    Stereotypes are meant to be broken. Not every young boss is aggressive, brash and opinionated. Just like not every older employee is closed-minded and condescending. So keep an open mind. A little respect for the older lot can go a long way in establishing rapport with the older lot. Understanding each other as colleagues, not necessarily as boss-subordinate will help.
  • Avoid needless clash
    For the older crowd, it''s important to steer clear of constantly harping about the ''good old days.'' Drop the condescending attitude and stop equating younger years with less capability. As for younger bosses, don''t dismiss the O L D E R subordinates as a bunch of resistance - a little respect and appreciation of their contribution might go a long way in winning their confidence.
  • Give & take
    Respect others for what they bring to the table. The older lot has the benefit of experience and consistency, while the younger ones have the creativity, ideas and a better understanding of coping with today''s fast-paced business environment. Both sets have a lot to learn from each other, so keep the channels of communication open.
  • Common goal
    Ultimately, both of you are working for the greater good of the organization. Keeping that big vision in mind, despite conflicts, will help focus energies more constructively.
    In a world biased towards performance than experience, avoiding friction born out of generation gap calls for tact and sensitivity. 

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