We’ve been hearing about the conflict between generations for decades. Today, there are five generations in the workplace, each with diverse attitudes, experiences and workstyles. With so many differences, is there a way to build a bridge across the generational divide?
A few recent experiences of mine encouraged me to believe that the way to build a successful intergenerational workforce and prevent our differences from becoming obstacles, is to look for common ground.
I attended a national conference recently where Kenneth E. Nwadike Jr. was speaking. In addition to being a motivational speaker, Ken is a documentary filmmaker and peace activist. He started the extraordinary movement called the Free Hugs Project. Through this amazing campaign, Ken’s peacekeeping mission to bring people together with hugs has resulted in the de-escalation of violence during protests, riots, and political rallies. He strives to help people in stressful situations see that they have more in common and less that divides them.
I was further convinced that our similarities outweigh our differences in a recent conversation I had with Ravi Hutheesing. Ravi is an international keynote speaker and culture catalyst. He empowers businesses, educators, and millions of people worldwide to transcend cultural and generational divides. When we spoke, Ravi shared his approach to bridging differences across cultures. “The reality begins with the basic understanding that we are all human beings, first and foremost. We have so much more in common than we think, but we focus on our differences rather than our commonalities. Do we have a lot of differences? Yes. We have differences in terms of the environments in which we grew up, the technology we use and the way that we express ourselves. But when it comes to our true values do we have differences? No, we do not. Those are some of the consistencies that we see from generation to generation.”
When we find common ground through our shared true values, we are better able to relate to one another as people, no matter what generation we belong to. From there we can form meaningful and personal connections that will help each person feel heard and appreciated for who they are and their unique interests, purposes and passions. How can you help your workforce find common ground?