FPMG Offers Tips For Communicating Across Generations

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FPMG, a performance management firm, believes significant benefit can be realized by understanding how to communicate across generations—especially when discussing legacy planning and succession. It can be particularly tricky for younger generations (X, Y and Millennials) to manage relationships with their older counterparts.

Communicating Across Generations

Communicating Across Generations

It’s critical to keep the lines of communications open and always ask questions, since ambiguity can lead to major communications breakdowns, with simple, minor hiccups becoming big problems.

FPMG, a performance management firm, believes significant benefit can be realized by understanding how to communicate across generations—especially when discussing legacy planning and succession. It can be particularly tricky for younger generations (X, Y and Millennials) to manage relationships with their older counterparts.

“Never making assumptions is one piece of advice we offer to younger team members,” said Denise Federer, Ph.D., FPMG’s founder. “We tell them not to assume older co-workers don’t understand something just because they’re older—and not to assume the opposite, either. It’s critical to keep the lines of communications open and always ask questions, since ambiguity can lead to major communications breakdowns, with simple, minor hiccups becoming big problems.”

Other cross-generational communications tips offered by FPMG to young employees are:

  •     Use your inexperience as an advantage. Want to know how to win the respect of boomers? Respect their experience and ask to be mentored. It allows them to get past your age and view you in a more reverential light. Find someone who can give you that inside scoop – the person who can add context to a situation and identify issues before they become pressing. Respecting and learning from an older co-worker’s experience can pay huge dividends.
  •     Make time for face time. It’s easy to work from home and there’s a lot that can be done on the go, but sitting down in the office for lunch with a member of an older generation is a good thing. Asking people for advice, chatting up co-workers, and learning from watching are all important for younger generations. The old saying, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters applies to climbing the corporate ladder and how you work with people. How are you going to know where you fit if you’re not immersed in your office culture? Being present means a lot, especially to boomers.
  •     Be patient. To boomers or members of an older generation, quality of work is always favored over quantity. There’s a lot to learn about precision and doing good by doing a good job. Too often, the younger generation moves too fast for its own good. Details—important details—are missed, underappreciated and glossed over. In a world where we constantly crave sincerity in our interactions, paying attention to details and taking the time to go the extra mile can go a long way to telling boomers where you stand.
  •     Get results. It’s great that you have a college degree; it’s awesome that you’ve got a master’s degree…but those don’t mean much to anyone if you can’t get the job done. In the professional world, results are what matter, not credentials. If you can get the job done, wolves could have raised you, for all they care. Stay focused, stay on task and get the job done. Do that, and boomers will respect you.

FPMG is a performance management consultancy dedicated to guiding successful people to be their best. Based in Tampa, we help you uncover the non-financial issues that impact the bottom line. FPMG offers family business consulting, leadership development, financial advisors succession planning and team building.

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Dr. Denise Federer
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