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Generational Diversity: Building Inclusive and Cohesive Teams

Part 4 of 4

"Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common...Celebrate it every day."

~ Winston Churchill

This is such an interesting spin on diversity as we close our series on generational diversity: building inclusive and cohesive teams. Diversity gives us a reason to celebrate because our lives would probably lack the creativity we witness every day.

In a diverse organization, there is room for innovation and new ideas, as well as conflicts. As we have seen in earlier posts, conflicts can be an effective avenue of growth and learning for everyone. In our previous post, we examined a potential conflict between a Generation Z and a Generation X, and applied VBD's KOR framework (knowledge, open communication, role) in addressing the individual from the Generation X age group. In this post, we will explore how we can communicate with the individual from Generation Z and provide a surprising perspective on each person's role on the team.

Jayden (Generation Z) and Angela (Generation X) work in the Administration department. Jayden has been employed there for one year, and his modern ideas tend to be embraced by the team. Angela has been working there for 10 years, but her ideas tend to be seen as outdated. Feeling like she is no longer relevant, she shows disinterest for Jayden's ideas and makes stereotypical remarks about his age and experience. Jayden is uncomfortable with this kind of hostility and feels like he cannot grow in the department. The tension begins to impact the department's productivity and morale, so as the head of the department, you decide to intervene by having a one-on-one meeting with Angela and Jayden.

  • Knowledge (K): As a leader in promoting diversity and inclusion in your department, share with Jayden that you recognize he is being stereotyped by Angela and this is not something you will tolerate. You had encouraged Angela to get to know Jayden in your one-on-one meeting with her. Now you know, over the years of working with Angela, that she is hardworking, passionate and supportive; therefore, encourage Jayden to get to know Angela as well, and move beyond the current hostility he sees on the surface.

  • Open Communication (O): You have been encouraging Jayden's new ideas because they help to orient the department for the future. Angela's years of experience can help to address any blind spots in his suggestions. Give Jayden and Angela a small project to implement where Jayden can be mentored by Angela. As they learn to work together, ask each other for suggestions, and listen to each other's opinions, this project can accomplish more than a deliverable within the department, but an opportunity for both team members to learn how to communicate more effectively with each other.

  • Role (R): You recognize that your team is made up of a specialist (Jayden), an implementor (Angela) and other agents. This conflict that you had to mediate reminded you that you are a monitor evaluator, and your strength is that you are thoughtful, discerning and impartial but can be slow to come to decisions. Although you saw that Angela and Jayden were having difficulties, this intervention did not come until the department's work and attitude were negatively affected. Therefore, it is a learning moment as a leader for how you can navigate not only generational diversity in the future, but other areas of difference between your staff.

Now that we are at the end of our series on diversity and inclusion, it is our hope at Victorious By Design that you gained new perspective on addressing intergenerational diversity in your professional space. Whether you are working with a Baby Boomer, Generational X, Y or Z, it is important to get to know each of them - even beyond their generational grouping, create an atmosphere of positive and open communication and embrace the value that each of them bring to the team.

For more growth and education in handling conflicts, building inclusive teams and other such areas, visit our Professional Development Training Academy. We want to light the path to your next level of unprecedented success.



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