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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Some Implications of Generational Needs on Collaboration

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


June 16, 2014

The word “collaboration,” comes from the root word, “co-labor.” Anyone who has tried to create and live in a collaborative culture knows it is hard work requiring deep listening, empathy, stepping up and stepping back, and being willing to support the greater good.
We are finalizing our consideration of generations as a filter of perception by exploring what Abrams and Frank suggest about the type of conversations which best connect by generation in collaborative teams.

Verbal language is one of the ways we work as collaborators. Abrams and Frank offer some tips on what each of the four generations might prefer.

Clear and concise language that is nonconfrontational
Lack of open challenge or disagreement and respect for hierarchy
Accurate use of grammar
Respect for years of experience
Focus on greater goal

Speak from values
Make personal connections and affirms experiences
Respect protocols and policies
Don’t speak too directly or stand out from the group

Gen Xers
Accept that blunt statements are not personal
Avoid small talk and get down to the task at hand
Clear focused communication that answers, “Why?”
Openness and honesty

Appreciate use of technology to collaborate
Request for feedback are honored
May not be a slave to process
Offer just in time learning and support

Consider these preferences as you analyze a team with whom you collaborate. As you learn about generational preferences, what insight does this offer to your team dynamics? How might you be more flexible as a collaborator across generations? When might you need to be more conscious of self and others? How are you showing empathy and appreciation for differences?

Source: The Multigenerational Workplace by Jennifer Abrams and Valerie von Frank

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