According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, “40 percent of human resource professionals have observed conflict among employees as a direct result of generational differences.” Managers need to learn to recognize the different sources of conflict among generations. Because of the different perspectives on work ethic and on work-life balance, there are many opportunities for “miscommunications, low morale, or poor productivity”.

The biggest workplace conflict across generations is the work ethic debate. The definition of work ethic is “a belief in work as a moral good” and “moral” means “right or wrong behavior.” Each generation has a different idea of “right or wrong behavior” so the definition of work ethic does indeed differ across generations, and it may be impossible to reconcile those differences.

Older generations “paid their dues” and are not receptive to rules as “open for suggestion,” whereas younger generations want to change work hours, rules and methods. Work quality should not be sacrificed for any reason, and managers should consider results rather than process.

The second biggest work conflict is the work-life balance. Employers need to consider all employees’ needs when trying to strike a work-life balance. Whether they think so or not, all employees benefit from a work-life balance.

Each generation has a unique response to conflict. Radio Babies respect authority and will avoid confrontation. Boomers expect a team meeting to determine some kind of resolution. Gen Xers have the most straightforward conflict approach–they will tell it like it is. Gen Yers tend to be casual and laid back. They need coaching on how to confront issues and people in a positive and assertive way.

In all cases, and across all generations, managers should practice providing constructive feedback. In terms of delivering constructive criticism, managers should:

  • focus on the issue,
  • emphasize key points,
  • be specific about thoughts and desired outcomes,
  • acknowledge others’ points of view, and
  • avoid hot button language.

When delivering constructive criticism to Radio Babies, managers should acknowledge effort and tell them how their behavioral changes will increase their value. With Boomers, managers should express how much their input is valued and create an action plan to change their behavior. Managers can be straightforward and honest with Gen Xers, and focus on desired results. With Gen Yers, managers should emphasize the business reason for the behavior change, and how this impacts the company.

Organizations that successfully resolve miscommunications, misunderstandings, and unproductive conflict focus on results.


About anubhamauryawalia

Contact us at 919818446562, Anubha, a Trainer, Facilitator & OD&L Professional is a prolific Human Process Interventionist, created PRISM Philosophy, ( Prepare. Respect. Implement. Share. Maintain) carries 18 years of rich experience have worked with top of the line blue chip organizations like Honeywell, ICICI Bank, Moody ICL Certification were she was heading ODL, Trainings & Quality verticals. Her areas of expertise include human process intervention, Organisation Development, Change engagement Learning, Team building, POSH and Quality implementation. She is Consultant as Change Engagement & Learning for OD and delivers corporate training programs at national and international platform and First lady from India doing research on FOLLOWERSHIP. She is the Self-Discipline Strategist who relates profound truths coupled with humorous anecdotes empowering professionals to conquer their apprehension. Her work involves direct observation, real time feedback, experiential learning and coaching following Andragogy principles. Self-directed and self-motivated, Charismatic and persuasive, with the ability to rely on logic and facts to support her positions. In times of pressure, tend to be objective in her approach and direct in her communication. Naturally, optimistic, you seek out the possibilities in life. Her creativity and ability to solve problems are some of her greatest strengths. This paired with drive, vision, and methodical approach allows her to create new opportunities, keeping her experiences fresh and exciting. Preferring to develop new ideas rather than maintaining systems already in place. Bold person, whose character is marked by originality, expressiveness, generosity, determination, and a keen eye for details Natural born communicator and an adept social navigator, often others will sit by, engage new people or invite others in to make them feel at home. With a talent for creative reasoning and big picture thinking, she is a great innovator and are typically seen this way by others. Her energy and forward thinking can generate a team-oriented environment, helping to accomplish goals by motivating others, while creating an atmosphere that is fun and exciting.

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