I wrote last time about some of the differences between generations, noting that these are mostly generalities that may or may not be true about your team members. What is true, though, is that there are some conflicts between generations that seem to crop up a lot. See if any of these sound familiar.
Young person: I want to make friends at work. Old guy: All this socializing wastes time.
Young person: Work should be more fun. Old gal: Stop screwing around!
Young person: I have an idea. Old guy: You haven’t been around long enough to have ideas.
These conflicts grow out of the different ways team members view work. The younger they are, the more likely they are to think the best work is done collaboratively, that work should be more than a drudge, and that everyone contributes equally.
Change has to happen with your older team members - the young ones will just leave if you ask them to sit down, be quiet and keep busy. Your Gen Xers and Baby Boomers need to be encouraged to get to know the new kids, ask their opinions, talk about the work, lighten up. It won’t be natural, but it’s necessary, because your younger team members have choices and the freedom to move.