Five Shifts to Common Understanding Across the Generations

When young professionals understand why seasoned professionals place great importance on certain things and learn how to think and act in harmony with their elders’ worldview, they will become more effective communicators. Likewise, when seasoned professionals understand why young professionals see the world the way they do, they will more effectively tap into the talents and skills of the youngest generation.

Challenges arise because we all define “respect,” “feeling valued,” or “working hard” in different ways. Taking the time to understand what people really mean when they make comments that upset you will help tremendously. If you probe a little deeper and perhaps ask what was meant by the comment, you’ll likely find the intention was not what you thought. When the focus in conversation is about “right” vs. “wrong,” it is helpful to come back to the common ground between people.

The following chart, “Five Shifts to Common Understanding,” shows the corresponding viewpoints of both young and seasoned professionals, with a focus on creating common ground in each example:

When you or your team members are unclear as to the organization’s direction or individual career goals, there’s a much greater need to protect and covet rather than share and contribute. However, when there is alignment between your company/department mission and individual career goals, synergy results. Team members see how their contribution affects the whole and the conversation switches from “Why am I not getting what I want?” to “How can I further support my organization, while advancing my career?”

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