project management team

Managing a Multi-Generational Team

We’ve already talked about managing Boomers (value-your-boomers) and Millennials (managing-millennials), but how can you successfully pull together a PMO that includes professionals from multiple generations? Check out the following strategies to engage your diverse team and ensure it’s functioning at its best.

Mix it up. To keep everyone thinking as a team, it’s important that you don’t inadvertently cut off one group from another. Look over the various project or cross-functional teams in your PMO and be sure each of them includes a mixture of experience levels and age ranges. Proactively work to place individuals together who have complementary skill sets—most professionals understand where their abilities could use strengthening, and they’ll often welcome the opportunity for some informal mentoring.

 

Encourage knowledge sharing. The information exchange between Boomers and Millennials isn’t one-way—both groups have much they can teach to and learn from the other. Some individuals may initially feel uncomfortable either asking for help or offering it, so you might need to do some prompting. Consider creating a team-wide initiative to share knowledge, which might include Millennials giving brown bag seminars on technology platforms, and Boomers offering insight into highly specialized niche project experiences.

 

Keep it competitive. Some professional (and friendly!) competition will keep team members of every age range on their toes, and will also encourage them to continue expanding their range of skills and expertise. Continuing education credits and certifications can be posted as a source of individual pride, or the opportunity to lead the next large project might be opened up to the team member who goes above and beyond on a particularly difficult task. Be sure to recognize accomplishments at all levels, and publicly commend high achievers as well as quick learners. Remember to keep things low-key, so you’re pulling team members together instead of alienating them.

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2 thoughts on “Managing a Multi-Generational Team”

  1. I’d also add not to overly identify with one particular generation, at least in public. If you’re a younger PM, and you continually chat with certain younger team members about the bars you frequented over the weekend, or if you’re an older PM and you often chat with certain older team members about the “good old days” at the company, in a public setting, it could lead to unintentional team member alienation. Nothing wrong with good conversation over the subjects mentioned above on an occasional basis. When it becomes a frequent topic of discussion however, is when you need to be a bit wary of its impact.

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