What assumptions do we make about our employees based on age?
The age stereotypes are popular and broad. Millennials get the brunt of the jokes, everything from their wanting applause for just showing up for work to promoting them for everything they do! Baby boomers get chastised for not being technically savvy and resisting change.
But does this thinking help or hurt you as a manager?
When you place someone in a category, you are limiting your understanding of who they are. Sure, everyone can fit characteristics of the stereotypes, but it’s because they are generalizations, so they’re broad enough to fit everyone.
Even if you have 5 employees who are millennials, it doesn’t mean they will all act the same way or have the same values; and if they do, its coincidence!
A manager in one of my classes mentioned he had a 55-year-old in his employ who acted like a millennial! How great this person had this enthusiastic energy! Why would anyone want to suppress or change this?
Everyone has their strengths and challenges. These are related to them, not to their age.
When we act with understanding that people don’t fit into their generational stereotypes:
- We will treat each employee as an individual
- We are open to taking time to spend one on one time with each of them
- We are taking time to do one of the most important things we can do as a manager
Because younger people can be responsible, and older people can, fortunately, still be carefree!