The “C” word in working with Generation Y and Millenials

What a joy to be working along side the youngest generations! While some of us thrive, others need a little more handle in working together in a multi-generational team.
The C word is Collaboration in Leading Generation Y
For a generation who grew up planning team games, where much of school involved working collaboratively in teams, perhaps engaging the youngest demographic group in terms of age would require a collaborative approach.
Work as Collaboration Process
Putting Gen Y in teams would be liken to putting them in an environment of high performance…..if managed appropriately. A team of diverse age will be optimized if the leader leverage on their strengths and focus on the team members’ performance regardless the generations they are from. Setting the expectation of delivering of common goals by the team will encourage collaboration instead of competing individuals.
The team will also benefit if their sensitize their understanding and awareness of age diversity. The allows for better understanding and when the “sparring” moment arrives, the allows the team to resolve issues amongst themselves.
Leading Collaboratively
Collaboration does not mean giving up the control of leadership. It does mean to set boundaries where there are shared leadership roles. Be clear that as a leader you are open to inputs to jointly lead the team or organization. However, the buck ends with you hence you need to be the one to make the final call. Hence defining the roles of the team and that of the leader is critical to set the expectation appropriately.
Open door policies where Gen Y can bounce ideas, seek feedback or simply have a chat with their team leader Is a great practice. However, it would in due time take toil on the leader if at the end of the day, s/he is not able to be effective in their role. A generally good practice is to set aside certain time of day to just hang up a “work in progress’ signage for all to know that it is also their time to have their independent work time and that you value their individual contribution.
Collaborative workplaces
Workplaces are now defined beyond physical space to include time and workload. With some creatively and insightful resourcing, you can create flexible workspaces that allows “playfulness” to come to live. Some organizations allow the team to decorate the workspaces according to the projects that the teams are on. Hence with each project, there is freshness to the space. Some organization create niches of space for quite bench work, other space where the team can gather together and spaces where the team can just hangout. This allows workplaces that will accommodate independent to collaborate work within the same space.
It is to the peril of leaders who
–       Ignore the fact that Gen Ys are affecting workplace dynamics
–       Disregard the fact that they are different from other team members
–       Decide not to employ Gen Ys, and lose out on their unique contributions

Instead, join the company of savvy business leaders who understand and manage the issue as it is – an issue of generational diversity – and welcome it with open arms. Develop a collaborative approach.

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