By Nicole Laurrari

  1. Embrace the Age Difference: Gen Y’s may have the edge when it comes to being tech savvy and up on the latest business trends, but Boomers can bring the value of experience and perspective, through multiple market conditions. For instance, Boomers have experience in a non-digital world and have basic communication skills that Millennials may be lacking, while Millennials have the web on their side. By embracing each other’s differences and learning from each other, you can actually create the perfect work balance.
  2. Focus on Results: It’s no secret that each generation approaches work differently. As managers, we sometimes focus too much on process, and become critical when someone tackles problem solving a different way than we would. It’s important that older employees are given a chance to deliver results and are put in charge of projects. Although their methods may be different, they can bring viable solutions to the table that other members of the team may not have thought of. Micro-managing these seasoned employees may slow down the process and halt creativity. Pair them with younger employees and watch the magic happen. They are likely to deliver significant results in a timely fashion.
  3. Level the Playing Field Respect each person’s contributions, from entry-level to management. Having members from different generations means more viewpoints and creativity – which gives your business an advantage –so use it. You can never over-communicate your position that everyone’s opinion and ideas count. And foster a cross-generation sentiment that no idea is a bad one and let the ideas flow. It’s important that you and your team respect and consider all ideas and together come to a successful conclusion.
  4. Earn Their Respect and Embrace their Needs: When it comes to your more experienced team members, it’s important that they respect you and trust the decisions you make for the company. They will respect you for doing your work and doing it well. Don’t set out to “prove yourself” – it’s unnecessary as you earned your role. Keep in mind that you have to give respect to earn respect. Make sure that you remain approachable and open to your team’s ideas but ultimately you make the final decision.  They don’t necessarily have to love you, but it’s important they respect the way you conduct business.
  5. Assert Your Authority: As a younger boss, it may be difficult to confront older employees which stems from a traditional values system that stressed a unquestioning respect of your elders.  But in the business world, you need to be the boss and address performance issues in staff – young or old.  It’s important not to make special allowances for older employees because you feel uncomfortable confronting them. As a leader, it’s important to tackle issues head on in an academic and respectful way.

Nicole Laurrari is the president of The EGC Group, a full-service advertising agency with creative expertise in brand development, digital & traditional media. @egcgroup.