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What it Really Takes to Manage a Multi-Generational Workforce

There are dozens of  articles which isolate the different aspects that Millennials vs Gen Xers vs Baby Boomers look for in a job, what motivates them, their preferential ways of treatment. Read a TRACOM blog on Leading the Millennial Generation here. But what are the major differences in generations that you need to know in order to motivate your workforce?

The truth is, we are so fixated on their differences that we practically are blind to the similarities they share. While the different generations might have different expectations or experiences ultimately a person’s preferences boils down to their individual SOCIAL STYLE.

According to a Talent Management article titled “The Secret to Managing Across Generations” author Aubrey Daniels says, “Regardless of the generational makeup of the company, managers need to view their employees as individuals with unique needs and personal reinforcers. To do so, assume that people want to be judged on their merits and not as part of some special generation. Managers ought to continuously seek out ways to understand why each individual exhibits certain behaviors and then identify reinforcers that are meaningful to each employee. That requires letting go of the assumption that people from the same generations have the same needs and that those needs are different from those from other generations.”

Everyone has a SOCIAL STYLE – a preferential pattern of behaviors that they feel comfortable with and a way in which they prefer being treated.  SOCIAL STYLE is the world’s leading Behavioral Style model. It has been used by thousands of organizations to improve leadership performance and sales results.

According to the article, “The science of behavior supports that people, regardless of their age or other stereotypical labels, perform optimally when the following three things are present:”

  • “Precise pinpoints of behaviors that are valuable to the organization”
  • “Frequent feedback on the progress or lack thereof on those behaviors”
  • “Reinforcement for engaging in those behaviors and when accomplishments are met”

Article author Aubrey Daniels says; “When you apply the science in this way, you will come to find the critical secret to managing across generations, which is really no secret — just the science of behavior and its availability to all. Managers must simply apply the tools and principles of the science to achieve positive outcomes from all employees. Sure, it’s important to encourage understanding between employees of different generations so as to avoid tensions and misconceptions. But ultimately, the best strategy for managing across the generational gap is to provide the universal framework that encourages positive behavior.”

TRACOM’s SOCIAL STYLE Profile measures SOCIAL STYLE and Versatility, allowing you to take steps to improve your relationships and performance. How is your SOCIAL STYLE measured? Each Style represents itself through people’s daily interactions. At surface level, each Style is closely linked to whether an individual tends to assert himself or respond to others in social settings, and whether he tends to display emotion or secure control in group settings. A person’s “Assertiveness vs. Responsiveness” value and “Emoting vs. Controlling” value are placed on a graph, determining a person’s SOCIAL STYLE.

While understanding one’s own Style is highly important, using that understanding and also learning how to interpret other’s SOCIAL STYLEs to than adjust your behavior is the key to effective working relationships. This is known as Versatility. Versatility is the ultimate aim of SOCIAL STYLE training. Versatility brings student’s knowledge together to form practical, actionable strategies for working with people of each Style in ways that resonate most deeply with each person.

Learn about SOCIAL STYLE, visit our Research Library or view or Programs and Products here.

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