Millennials, Here’s How to Work with Gen X Bosses

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Millennials don’t have the best reputation in the workforce. Countless times in a variety of publications, they have been called lazy, entitled, and idealistic. While some may fit this description, a contributor to Forbes said Generation Y was not so different from Gen X-ers, and busted the myth that they are chronic job-hoppers with a poor work ethic.

While millennials can make great employees, the differences between Gen Y and Gen X can cause friction in the workplace. With a few tips, millennials can learn how to get along and work well with Gen X-ers who are in supervisory roles.

3 Ways Millennials Can Work Effectively with Gen X Bosses

Having trouble working well with your Gen X bosses? Here are a few ways to effectively work with them:

1. Understand where they are coming from — It can be very easy to become offended at those we do not understand. This is a common dynamic between Gen X and Gen Y. It would be helpful if each generation spent some time researching the other. This would foster appreciation, understanding, and compassion.

Even if your boss never attempts to learn more about you, you should still read up on Generation X individuals, especially as it relates to their work ethic. This is the quickest way to demystify behaviors and values that you don’t quite understand and give you insight into how to best relate.

2. Ask clarifying questions — So many frustrations can be avoided by communicating with your Gen X bosses. To avoid miscommunications and conflict, ask clarifying questions. For example, if you were told your workplace was flexible when you were hired, be sure to ask exactly what that means. It could mean your boss is fine with you coming in to work a bit late and staying late to make up for lost time. Or it could mean something else entirely. The only way to know is to ask.

3. Communicate effectively — How do you prefer to communicate with your Gen X bosses? If you are like the majority of millennials, you opt for digital communication. There is nothing wrong with this. Digital communication is quick and easy. But keep in mind that many Gen X bosses prefer to communicate in person.

“Communication styles are a common source of conflict between millennials and Gen. X-ers. Millennials feel very comfortable using several different communication platforms all at once. In comparison, Gen. X-ers generally prefer to talk in person. Millennials think their Gen. X bosses waste too much time chatting in meetings, while Gen. X-ers consider the younger generation’s communication style too cold and unproductive…. In reality, both communication styles are perfectly acceptable and can be complementary to each other. It’s all about choosing the most appropriate method for each specific occasion,” stated

Keep these communication style differences in mind as you interact with your Gen X bosses to increase understanding and build rapport.

Do You Get Along With Your Generation X Bosses?

Generational differences can cause tension between millennials and Gen X-ers in the workplace. By taking time to understand where they are coming from, asking clarifying questions about workplace expectations, and communicating effectively, millennials can improve their relationships with Gen X peers and supervisors and promote workplace harmony and productivity.

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