Your Generational Stereotypes Are Just That

September 30, 2020

Today’s workforce spans five generations. Each with different views on basic workplace values. This calls on leaders to get creative to surface the commonalities among them to help lessen the generational divide in the workplace.

Teams are messy on a good day. Add generational divides to the mix and it can really turn to shit. I’ve got over 50’s on my team who think the millennials are impatient, woke, know-it-alls. And the 30-somethings think the geriatric crowd still uses the telegraph (not the app) and wouldn’t know an innovative idea if it smacked them upside the head. Such stereotypes all around.

One day I couldn’t stand it any longer, so I devised an activity to bust through all the -isms. I asked everyone to submit one sentence to me that answered this question: What is one misconception the team has about you? I created a document with everyone’s answers but no names. Everyone had to submit their guesses about who said what.

You already know the punchline. There was a 75% error rate. Both camps applied ridiculous preconceived notions. I had everyone make a placard with their own answer and display it during all team meetings going forward. Now the team is a bit less messy.