After a week of posts about generational conflict, you’ll be happy to hear that Alexandra Levit is a professional bridge builder (and blogger at Water Cooler Wisdom). Leaders in the Fortune 500 call her when they can’t cope with young people anymore. She teaches people how to stop annoying each other by gaining a better understanding of generational differences.
Deloitte has a program that offers free, confidential career counseling to all employees. The counselors can talk on any topic (including how to get out of Deloitte). So I asked, “What do the older employees talk to a coach about?” And program founder Stan Smith, told me, “A lot of them use the career coach to ask what do I do about these kids?”
It’s clear this cuts both ways, too. Generation Y is not an insolent bunch. They have been treated well by older people their whole lives. They follow rules, and respect their parents. Young people are looking for ways to work well with management — ways that won’t crush their dreams.
On an individual basis this comes down to problem solving and negotiation. Working with someone is actually a series of hundreds of small negotiations. If you do them well, things go smoothly and all issues are small. If you mishandle negotiations, problems grow, and road blocks pop up.
What Alexandra can do is help you troubleshoot problem areas in your work life that are a result of generational differences. It’s a skill to learn, and you can use it over and over again. You can also use Alexandra to blow off steam. Deloitte finds that you will do better work if you have a person like this in your life as a sounding board.
This week you can get 90 minutes free with Alexandra. You’ll probably use it in 30 minute increments. Most of you can benefit from this. A place like Deloitte doesn’t offer free coaching willy-nilly. They offer it because the idea of handling everything yourself is outdated; having someone to go to for a problem drastically improves your ability to succeed at work.
If you are having generational problems at work, send an email to me with three sentences about why you want to work with Alexandra, and she’ll pick one of you to work with. Deadline is Sunday, July 15.