If you’re surrounded by coworkers who are younger than you, you may sometimes feel a little disconnected from them. People in different generations have their own ways of communicating and getting things done. So it may occasionally feel challenging to work together as a cohesive team.
But if you find yourself in this position, don’t worry. According to author Lindsey Pollak, there are five things that you can do to bridge the gap between you and your younger colleagues.
- Talk about how you prefer to communicate – Don’t just assume that everyone at work is going to share information in the same way. You might prefer to email, while your younger coworkers might prefer to text or skype. Talk to your coworkers about how they want to share information at work, and identify a form of communication that works for all of you.
- Be open to learning new things – Try not to cling to your “tried and true” ways of doing things – even if they’ve been effective in the past. Be open to new ideas and methods, and have a willingness to learn.
- Ask for guidance – Even though you may be the person in the office with the most experience, it’s still OK to ask your younger coworkers for guidance on how to use new techniques or forms of technology. It’s a great way to learn and form closer ties with your colleagues.
- Stay current – Try to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in pop culture. You don’t have to be an expert, but if you can understand what people are talking about in the lunchroom, that will help you to forge closer bonds.
- Don’t make “I’m so old” jokes – Don’t put yourself down by talking about how you’re “getting forgetful in your old age,” you’re “getting senile,” or anything along those lines. Be confident in what you know and what you can do. Your coworkers will respect you and your abilities.
Pollak, L. (n.d.). How to relate to your coworkers when they’re all younger than you. The Muse. Retrieved from: https://www.themuse.com/advice/working-with-younger-employees?ref=recently-published-1