Communication in the workplace is challenging enough under the best of circumstances, but in workplaces that can have as many as four generations struggling to communicate with each other, even simple exchanges can result not only in miscommunications, but in misunderstandings that can create serious problems.
One person who has given this problem a lot of thought is Dana Brownlee, a corporate trainer and management consultant whose background in technology includes stints at AT&T Bell Labs, IBM Global Services and EMC. In a recent interview on the topic of multigenerational communication issues in the workplace, I asked Brownlee if, in light of her technology background, she had any sense of whether these issues are more or less prevalent in an IT organization, compared to other organizations.
“My experience has been that IT is such a rapidly developing field, that there's a Darwinian effect that forces anyone who's successful in the field to change, learn, and adapt, early and often,” she said. “As a result, I've tended to see less of these generational communication issues in IT. I'm sure there are exceptions, but that's my general observation.”