Managing Generations

How can you successfully manage Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and Generation Z? PestWorld talks to three different generations on how they bridge the gap.

Ask a group what it’s like to work with a certain gender or race, and the room will fall silent. But ask about working with Gen Xers or Millennials? The air will come alive with stories, laughter—and perhaps, shared frustrations.

“I see these things not as putting people into a box, but as taking the lid off the box,” said David Stillman, an international speaker, consultant and co-author of the new book “Gen Z @ Work” with his Generation Z-aged son, Jonah. “It’s another way to understand people. The nice thing is that people can get these stereotypes out there, and we can talk about them.”

So, let’s talk.

The leaders of today’s pest management companies are decidedly not one-size-fits-all. They bring different backgrounds and experiences to the table—in addition to diverse perspectives about leadership, motivation, use of technology, incorporating new ideas and the need to honor traditional values and methods. And yes, some of that has been defined by the generation of which they’re a part.

These leaders have been influenced by the people they manage, as well, from the youngest (Generation Z’s leading edge now in the early 20s) to the oldest (Baby Boomers at or near retirement). And some readily admit they’ve had trouble trying to keep everyone happy.

But smart managers understand, he said, that someone else’s way of doing things— even if different from your own—may still achieve the same result.

They also understand that when it comes to managing multiple generations, achieving fairness is nothing more than a pipe dream. The best bet, Stillman said, is to manage to performance instead—regardless of employee age.

What these principles look like in real life will be as different as the managers who espouse them. But as a start, here’s a closer look at a few leaders doing their best to cross generational lines.

By Fiona Soltes

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