Hello, dear friends. I am proud to share this generational title with you, even though we often receive backlash — both warranted and unwarranted. We are a generation full of dreamers, doers, overachievers, and risk takers. We are young and full of life. The world is our oyster!
However, before we get too high and mighty, let’s get back to reality for a second. Yes, we are the newest generation in the workforce. Yes, we are more connected and technologically savvy than any generation before us. And yes, we can work quickly and multitask. All of this may be true, but when it comes to the workplace, it doesn’t matter. Without being a team player and understanding that we still have so much to learn from our older colleagues, we are setting ourselves up for frustration and failure.
Through my work, I have interacted with professionals of all ages and how workplaces can best bridge generational gaps where everyone feels heard, needed, and relevant. I am “team Millennial,” so I want you all to succeed.
Here are a few ways that you can work with your Generation X and Baby Boomer coworkers better.
- Put your phone away. One of the biggest frustrations I hear about our generation is that we are too dependent on our phones. Let’s not give them more reason to feel this way. When you have a task in front of you, finish it in a timely manner. When you have completed it, instead of pulling out your phone immediately, ask your supervisor what you can do next. Believe me, this simple act will be noticed. This shows you take your job seriously and you are focused on your work and your future. Also, before a meeting begins, use that time to interact with your coworkers and build relationships, not check your Instagram. Building relationships will help the team value you more.
- Listen. This sounds easy, but we all know it is not. If you want your ideas to be considered, you have to consider others’. Taking the time to listen to your older coworkers and leaders will show that you are open to learning and growing. By listening, you are giving your colleagues an opportunity to share their thoughts and hopefully in return, ask for your thoughts as well.
- Show up. You may be the low man on the totem pole, but you’re still on it. When your workplace offers events, socials, or team building initiatives, do them. This will help build comradery, respect, and trust with your fellow coworkers. Be appreciative of the time and effort your organization is putting in to make your workplace a positive one. (And if your organization isn’t doing anything specifically to enable a beneficial workplace for all generations, ask to spearhead it. You can help create a positive generational change!)
- Be adaptable. Take advantage of your youth and learn as much as you can in your current organization. Your older colleagues have put in years of hard work to be where they are today. Although it may be challenging sometimes, you can’t change all the rules. To thrive, you must be flexible.
To all you millennials out there, I am proud of you. Keep chasing your dreams. But remember those who came before us. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.