“If you are lucky, you have someone when you’re young who does not talk down to you, who speaks to you as a serious person. They exhort you to take something seriously, to take work seriously. If a person does that in the right way, you feel elevated.”
-Edward Norton, an actor, filmmaker, and activist.
Currently, COVID-19 has taken the lid “off” many aspects that are not working well in the world.
People are looking for change.
The older generation sees that the problems are being revealed but they do not have enough time in their lives to sort them out.
The younger generation realizes there is much to fix and change.
There are five generations who are currently active in our world.
These generations are described as follows.
1996 – 2012 – Gen Z, iGen, or Centennials
1977 – 1995 – Millenials or Gen Y
1965 – 1976 – Generation X
1946 – 1964 – Baby Boomers
1945 and before – Traditionalists or the Silent Generation
In other parts of the world generation names can be influenced by regional events.
For example, in South Africa, people born after the end of apartheid in 1994 are referred to as the ‘Born Free Generation.’
Generation Z sees there are many issues to address.
They have energy and skills and are able to mobilize.
They have a great amount of drive, talent, and ambition.
They often realize they need to cooperate with the older generations.
A diverse group of mentors can assist them to create many areas of skills.
Older generations often hold more leadership positions.
‘They know the ropes’ better than the young generation.
They have been characterized as goal focussed, resourceful, and team-oriented.
Boomers realize that there is much to fix in the world.
Cross-generational mentoring can enable leadership development in the younger and older generations.
This also offers the opportunity to have a diverse group of mentors. For example, we could have a mentor in areas as health, wealth, and wisdom.
Research indicates that generationally-diverse teams can be better at problem solving and innovation.
People of different generations have much to offer each other.
When several generations share their experiences, skills and knowledge of older generations are combined with the new ideas and methods of youth.
This bridges the gap between generations.
It can create a more positive and productive environment.
New generations bring in new perspectives, fresh ideas, and differences.
This can make teams more cohesive and successful.
It enables members to expand their networks and get to know people outside their groups.
Cross-generation cooperation facilitates creative thinking.
It enables the team to come up with innovative solutions.
Multiple mentors can assist them to build skills in many areas.
By working together, the older and younger generations can:
-Energize older adults and give them a sense of purpose;
-Reduce a sense of isolation for older adults and even lessen depression;
-Learn new skills;
-Help younger generations understand aging;
-Dispel negative stereotypes and encourages bonding among generations;
-Fill social gaps where there may be no grandparents or grandchildren in their lives.
HOW TO HELP:
Encourage them to share what they have learned by working with other generations.
Help organize meetings, topics, questions, worksheets, and offer guidance.
Encourage teams to work together on shared projects.
Learn to appreciate insights of all age ranges and levels of experience.
Promote the idea of younger members’ insights being heard. A great technique is to give the newest team members the opportunity to speak first on topics.
Have the younger generation coach older generations through new tech developments.
Put aspiring leaders into the same room as senior leaders.
Share the objective of mutual mentorship where two-way learning is conducted. There is no mentor or mentee. Each person serves both roles.
Give them access to people who will do a lot of good for their careers.