3 Tips For Multigenerational Church Staffs To Work Together Efficiently
By: Vanderbloemen October 5, 2017
There is a lot of value in having team members of many generations on a staff. Multiple generations means multiple perspectives, which ultimately means a broader outlook on how to tackle a problem or get a job done. I came from a setting where I was one of a handful of millennials on a staff of many more Generation X’ers. I now work in an environment where I am one of many millennials on a staff with only a handful of Generation X’ers.
Neither of these work environments is necessarily better than the other (though I am obviously partial to my current work environment), as they each have their pros and cons. There can be a constant balance between using the latest and greatest technology tool and not losing sight of what has worked in the past.There is a lot of really valuable pushing and pulling that comes along with a multigenerational team, as long as it’s healthy.
Here are 3 tips to ensure multigenerational teams can work together efficiently.
1. Listen to Each Other
It's often easy to discount the advice or ideas of others when they are vastly different than your own. Because we have grown up in our own generation, it is simple to assume that our way may be the right or best way because it's really the only way we've been exposed to. There are so many benefits that come from having multiple generations on a team; however, different generational views can oftentimes cause tension on a team.
Remember that while younger generations may be privy to the latest technology or tools, older generations have more experience and insight to lend. Just like having different personality types on a team to balance each other out, having different generations will help weigh pros and cons of ideas. Taking the time to listen to the viewpoints of each other, no matter how many years may separate you, is the first step in establishing a good, multigenerational working relationship.
2. Understand & Communicate
Anyone can simply listen, right? If we put ourselves in their shoes in an attempt to see where their opinions and thoughts stem from, it will be much easier to understand and collaborate with one another.
However, part of understanding each other comes from clear and effective communication. It does no one any good if a person cannot communicate why they believe their solution might be best, or why they believe a particular idea will not work. Taking the time to outline the pros and cons of ideas, plans, and processes will go a long way as staff members continue to work together and learn from one another.
A team full of different generations will most likely come with very different opinions. While each generation may believe their opinion/idea/solution is the best, only one opinion/idea/solution can work and, at the end of the day, only one solution will prevail. When problem-solving between multiple parties, there should not only be one right answer. Rather, the focus should be on the various components you can take from different ideas in order to come to a compromised solution.
A Vanderbloemen example of this would be how we communicate with our clients as we work with them to find their next staff members. Technology allows us to serve any church in the country (and even some internationally), and we are grateful for that. If we wanted, we could just keep it all virtual and never meet any of our clients in person. However, we believe that having the opportunity to spend time with our clients and sit knee-to-knee with them is priceless and crucial, so we make it a priority to get out to wherever they are. We use a solid balance of technology and old-fashioned, in-person interaction to make our process run as smoothly as possible, making compromise a huge component of how we operate.
These are just a few suggestions on how multigenerational church staffs can ensure they operate smoothly and effectively.
What else would you suggest for a church with a multigenerational staff?