So you have three generations on your team – millennials, Generation X and baby boomers. Can you make them play nice?

This question reminds me of a conversation I had some years ago back with the boss of a large, international corporation. He had this to say about millennials: “They’re like aliens from outer space. I know they bring unique abilities to my world, but I just can’t seem to understand them.” He, of course, was right on the border between Gen X and boomer.

As a leader, you’ve probably felt this gap. Maybe you’re feeling it right now. Depending on the size of your company, you may have as many as five generations working side by side.

This makes inspiring teamwork and collaboration challenging, to say the least. How then to navigate the waters? Consider the five tips below.

1. Study the research, then forget it.

Not sure exactly how these generations differ? For a quick refresher course, check out this high-level overview of a recent Ernst & Young study.

Now, with the research and traits in mind, let it go. Remember that we’re all people born on planet Earth with hopes, dreams, goals and aspirations.

While we have our humanity in common, we’re unique. So, not every one of your employees is going to fit into the box of traits their generation is known for.

2. Don’t avoid the conflict of interaction; encourage it.

Have a major project coming up? Structure your team diversely and with intention. Purposely include someone from each generation if possible. Decide in advance what you think each one brings to the work.

Then communicate. Let them know they play a specific role based on their skills and abilities. For example, rely on your boomer for deep industry knowledge. Rely on your millennial for a fresh technical solution. While this example Read More Here