Tips and tricks to gain support of older co-workers

Tips and tricks to gain support of older co-workers

When I grew up, my house was a bit of organized chaos(just like yours). My mother raised six boys and no girls, and she was God Almighty. I also am the youngest of this group which gave me a few advantages the older I got. For example, My brothers were always getting in trouble for something, so I learned real early what not to do if I wanted to stay alive in our house. It also meant that when I did get in trouble, I had to own it. The other advantage to being the youngest was that most of my friends in the neighborhood and at school were older. I was just used to it.

So when I came to working age and got my first role in corporate, I easily gravitated to the more “seasoned” individuals on my team and department. It never dawned on me how valuable this has been in my career. To this day, many of the professionals I invest a lot of time with are much older than I. And age has been such a non factor. So I thought today I would extract from my life a few ways to build the repore with older co-workers.
– Listen for their stream of happiness. Instead of being the talker all the time, ask questions about them and listen for the thing they can talk about all day. Could be their kids, a trip, a hobby. Once you hear it and their eyes light up, immerse yourself in it. Show a genuine interest and watch them open up more to you.
– Be good at executing. Nothing makes an older co-worker happier than someone who comes in and can get stuff done. Part of building the relationship is gaining trust through your work effort, they like that! Don’t show an attitude that work is beneath you. People will only trust what they see, and perception is reality for all of us.
– Get good at holding a conversation. It sounds like a “duh” but this can get you plenty of cool points as a Millennial who wants to be a leader. I have learned that me knowing how to talk as a keynote speaker is different than how to hold a meaningful conversation. Older co-workers are deep thinkers and don’t often get someone younger who can share in differences of opinion and understand one another.
– Listen to the news. Just because you don’t see them holding a newspaper anymore, doesn’t mean older co-workers are staying abreast to current topics near and aboard. Take time and skim the articles that are in the news, it helps you start conversations and hear the opinions. Don’t judge, just be an ear to new ideas and thought.
In time you will find that you gain the respect and trust of an older co-worker. Who knows, you might even have made a friend for life.

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