Age diversity means managing younger workers alongside Baby Boomers

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Supervising Millennials – people born roughly between 1983 and 2001 – befuddles even the most experienced leaders. Managing younger employees is especially confusing for supervisors who’ve been at it for a decade or two.

“We have four generations, in the workplace today – the Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials,” says Allyn Walker, President of Dale Carnegie Tennessee. “When you look at generational differences, previous generations did stuff more because it was what they were supposed to do.”

managing younger workers

Managing younger workers requires understanding what motivates them.

“The new generation wants to know why,” he says.

Young workers don’t behave like earlier generations. Titles don’t impress them, though a boss with personal authority will. They don’t accept assignments without context well. They want more information.

By 2014, according to a Harvard Business Review study, Millennials (defined by this study as people born between 1977 and 1997) will account for nearly half of the world’s employees.

By any measure, the oldest members of this group already are in their 30s and moving into management positions themselves.

Clearly, this generation won’t diminish in numbers or influence. And we don’t yet know how the newest generation – as yet officially unnamed – will behave on the job. An organization that plans to be around – and successful – in a decade must understanding what motivates younger workers.

So what’s a manager to do?

We’ve assembled some tips for managing younger workers as a place to start.

Dale Carnegie has been around for 100 years. We’ve had a front-row seat to generational change and how it plays out on the job. Dale Carnegie himself started coaching businessmen in the generation that preceded The Greatest Generation. We’ve worked with the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Baby Busters, Generation X, Generation Y, Millennials and all their subsets.

Opinions differ on exactly which birth years these generations span and what to call important groups within them. But we are sure about this:

People are people. Figure out what motivates them and magic happens. We’ll help you navigate this new territory. Dale Carnegie has been navigating new territory for some time.

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