Conflicts are a part of life, whether with friends or family, or with other important people in our lives such as our partners or colleagues. Conflicts of any kind are never fun, but if you’re an employer and you have to work with people with different backgrounds and generations, conflicts are inevitable in the long run and need to be resolved before they get out of hand.
Resolving conflicts can be difficult, but with the right approach and tools, we can not only cope with generational conflicts but also resolve them in our favor.
Here are some tips on how you can resolve conflicts between your workers of different generations so that everyone can go back to doing their jobs without feeling as if they’re being ignored or unappreciated by their coworkers.
What is generational conflict?
Generational conflict is the discord that arises when one generation's values, beliefs, and behaviors clash with those of another. This type of conflict is often seen in the workplace, as different generations have different work styles and communication styles.
The psychology behind the generational conflict is that each generation feels their way is the right way and that the other generation is wrong. This can lead to a communication gap, as each side tries to convince the other that they are right. A major cause of this communication gap is not having common interests, which makes it difficult for two people from different generations to communicate.
Why are we having this conflict?
It's no secret that people of different generations often butt heads. From music taste to political views, there are many ways that people can differ. When it comes to the workplace, generational conflicts can arise for a variety of reasons. Maybe younger employees feel like they're not given enough responsibility, or older employees struggle to keep up with new technology. Whatever the cause, it's important to understand the psychology behind the generation gap to resolve these conflicts.
1) Parent-adolescent strained relationships:
Most adults experience conflict with their children at some point, known as parent-adolescent strained relationships.
Related: Ways to tackle teenage crisis!
2) Personality clashes:
Other factors that contribute to generational conflict include personality clashes and differing attitudes about work ethic.
3) Age discrimination:
One major source of workplace conflict is age discrimination which stems from biases based on age stereotypes, including notions about productivity and technological savvy. These stereotypes may lead some employers to overlook qualified candidates because of their age.
Although conflicts between generations can exist anywhere, the workplace seems to be an especially fertile ground for them. There are many possible causes of generational conflict in the workplace ranging from differences in viewpoints about how best to do a job (e.g., whether or not someone should be expected to use email when calling others) to misunderstandings caused by prejudices related to one's age.
5 Ways to Resolve the Conflicts
1. Understand the source of the conflict
Often, generational conflicts in the workplace arise because of misunderstandings. It is important to take the time to listen to each side and try to see where the other person is coming from. If a misunderstanding can be cleared up quickly, then there should be no problem. However, if there are deeper underlying issues, these should be addressed separately so that everyone can have their say without interruption.
2. Consider all viewpoints before deciding how to move forward
There are always two sides to every story. Before proceeding with any action, it is crucial to hear both perspectives and consider which way would work best for the company as a whole. For example, an employee might feel like they're being asked to do too much work for too little pay, while management feels like they're offering more than enough for what the employee needs, given their position on the team. In this case, both positions deserve consideration to devise a solution that works for everyone involved.
3. Be open-minded and willing to compromise
Sometimes when discussing a difficult issue, there's no middle ground - one party has to give in entirely or else there's no resolution. But finding solutions isn't just about picking one option or another; rather, it's about working together until both parties find something that meets the needs of both sides.
If the conflicts are hampering your productivity and mental peace, consulting a professional might help.
4. Address the root cause of the conflict
Unless people know why a disagreement is happening, it will continue to happen again and again. Some possible reasons for generational conflicts include differences in values, expectations, communication styles, beliefs about power structures or hierarchy, differences in approaches to work or even personality traits. When people know what's causing their disagreements, they can work on resolving those specific problems instead of perpetuating them over and over again.
5. Put yourself in your coworker's shoes
It helps to understand where someone is coming from before asking them to change their behavior. So next time you need your coworker to do something differently, think about what was going through his or her head when they acted the way they did. Then approach him or her calmly and respectfully, describing the impact of his or her actions on you and others around him/her. From there, you can explain your feelings and ask for help understanding his/her point of view.
To resolve generational conflict, it is important to understand each generation's values, beliefs, and motivations. By doing so, we can learn to communicate and connect in a way that fosters respect and understanding. Additionally, it is important to remember that we all have different perspectives and experiences shaping our identity. Therefore, it is important to be open-minded and willing to compromise to find common ground.