Jun 102014
 

Sharon Justice, PhD“They just don’t get it!” Have you ever caught yourself thinking this? School and workplaces today are, quite a mix, not only of cultures and experiences, but of generations.  And if it isn’t already complicated enough, the Digital Natives are entering high school this year, and for the first time will enter the workplace, filling volunteer, seasonal and part-time roles.  

Brody School of Medicine faculty participating in the INSPRE program (INclusion, Support, Professional development, Retention, Enrichment) recently attended a leadership development session led by East Carolina’s Sharon Justice, teaching instructor in the College of Business.  

The INSPRE program is cosponsored by the Vice Chairs of Certificate in Medical Education Program and a mentoring committee for each participant.  INSPRE workshop sessions are held every other year to address peer mentoring and leadership development in an effort to ensure recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty members that are reflective of the patients and medical learners they serve.

Participants learned that each generation is defined by common experiences, shared values and historical events. Each assumes that the next generation:

  • Wants what they have
  • Shares their definition of “success”
  • Believes the subsequent generations should “pay their dues” the same waygenerations
  • Has it much easier

When we stop to evaluate, we realize these assumptions can lead to misunderstandings and potential conflicts.  What can we do to communicate and work together better?

The most effective way to work in a multi-generational work place starts with observation; take time to understand generational differences.  What is common to the 20 year old (technology, apps, widgets) can be a foreign language to a WWII.  Different doesn’t mean wrong or bad, it’s just different.  Be open to different perspectives.

 Understanding Generations

 

WWII

Boomer

Gen X

Millennial

Assets

Experience, Knowledge, Focus, Dedication

Service, Dedication, Team, Knowledge

Adaptability, Tech knowledge, Independence, creativity, willingness to buck the system

Collaboration, Optimism, Multi-task, Tech Savvy

Liabilities

Reluctance to Buck the system, Dislike conflict, Reticent when disagree

Dislike conflict, reluctant to go against peers, Process before result, Not always budget minded

Skeptical, Distrust authority/institutions

Need supervision and structure, Inexperience, especially with people

Communication

Memos, letters

Phone, in person

Voice mail, Email

Instant Msg, Blog, Text, Email

Rewards

Tangible symbols of loyalty (certificates, etc.)

Promotion, personal recognition

Free time, New resources, results, certifications

Awards, Certificates, Tangible evidence of credibility

 

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