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Communicate Across Generations Effectively

Alexandra Levit | Water Cooler Wisdom

July 06, 2010



• Empower traditionalists to make their own decisions by encouraging them to “trust their gut” and supporting them in whatever they determine is the best course.

• Have deference for their years of experience and listen. After all, what has happened in the past is the best predictor of what will happen in the future.

• Talk to traditionalists about their learnings and their long-term plans. Don’t assume they have one foot out the door just because they’re what used to be retirement age.

• Provide constructive feedback as you would to any other employee – they can and should learn new tricks.


• Give recognition whenever possible. Acknowledge Boomers’ contributions and be cognizant about implementing their suggestions.

• Encourage them to mentor younger colleagues and learn new skills and technologies so that they can continue to hone their potential.

• Allow them to experiment with their jobs. Many Boomers are getting antsy and want to do work that’s different and more personally meaningful.

• Respect the status quo. Boomers feel that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Don’t insist on change for its own sake.

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Featured Author: Alexandra Levit
A current columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Metro US, Alexandra has authored several books, including the popular They Don’t Teach Corporate in College (Career Press 2004 and 2009), How’d You Score That Gig? (Random House/Ballantine, 2008), Success for Hire (ASTD Press, 2008), MillennialTweet (SuperStar, 2009), and New Job, New You (Random House/Ballantine, 2010). Her book on the top myths of business success is due out from Penguin/Berkley in spring 2011.