The Secret to Managing Across Generations

With more millennials in managerial roles, what does that mean for morale among generational counterparts?

Here is an excerpt from an article written by Aubrey Daniels for Talent Management magazine. To read the complete article, check out all the resources, and sign up for a free subscription to the TM and/or Chief Learning Officer magazines published by Human Capital Media, please click here.

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To encourage high levels of collaboration between employees of all ages, managers should incorporate the following.

o Define the specific behaviors that are valuable in the job. Age differences become much less of an issue when every employee has a clear understanding of what good performance looks like. When expectations are clearly communicated and understood, employees will understand their role and the performance that is expected of them.

o Provide timely and specific feedback. Regardless of an employee’s reinforcement history, pinpointed feedback is necessary for performance improvement. Let employees know what they are doing well and where they need to improve. The best job you will ever have is one where at the end of the day you know how you’ve done, the good and bad.

o Create opportunities for employees to have input on how company targets are achieved. The best managers don’t tell their employees what to do. They are constantly asking them for advice on how to solve a problem. All age groups work better together when they feel valued and feel reinforced for the skills they bring to the table. Few things cause employees to be engaged more than participating in the design of systems and processes that they use in their work.

o Deliver positive reinforcement early and often. At the start of a new project or task, your employees will respond to a steady stream of positive reinforcement to get them on track and keep them there. As time goes on, the desired behavior will become self-sustaining and managers can look for other new desired behaviors to reinforce so that improvement continues. Do not take hard work for granted. We call hard work discretionary effort. Of course, hard work should be directed toward achieving valuable targets. Hard work on trivial tasks is trivial.

o Be patient with the shaping process. Supporting this framework for effectively managing across generations is an ongoing process. Shaping is defined as the positive reinforcement of successive approximations toward a goal. It is appropriate to reinforce even the smallest improvement. Shaping is a powerful tool that everyone needs to master. It often flies in the face of processes like stretch goals but is infinitely more successful. To learn more about shaping, read “A Guide to Shaping: Overcoming the Insurmountable and Eating Elephants.”

Following these steps not only will make employees happier in their work but also create high performers whether they are 20 or 60.

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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

5.4.1AubreyC.Daniels1Aubrey C. Daniels is a thought leader and an internationally recognized expert on management, leadership and workplace issues who is an authority on human behavior in the workplace. Trained as a psychologist and specializing in the science of behavior analysis, Daniels has written the newly-released fifth edition of Performance Management: Changing Behavior That Drives Organizational Effectiveness and five other business books. As the founder of workplace consulting firm Aubrey Daniels International, he and his staff help organizations employ the timeless principles of behavioral science to re-energize the workplace, optimize performance and achieve lasting results. He can be reached at his firm.

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