The perks and pitfalls of working with people much older (or younger) than you

Many of us work with - and manage - people 30 years older or younger than we are. And sometimes it can feel like there's a bit of dissonance between the "wisdom and experience" that Gen X and Boomers can bring, and the "innovative energy" of those in their twenties and thirties. So what, and how, can both learn from each other?

Isabel (Gen X) explores how reverse mentoring programmes are bridging the generation gaps in a growing number of organisations. She talks to Alvaro Romero Artigas, a (Gen X) senior manager at Santander, the bank, and to his mentor, Philippa Whelan (a young Millennial) who have been in a reverse mentoring partnership since 2018. 

Josh Chaffin, the FT’s New York correspondent (Gen X), talks about the different expectations of younger colleagues and the importance of making an effort to know colleagues with different cultural reference points - and that’s not just an age thing. 

Plus, Josh challenges Isabel’s fixed ideas about corporate culture. He says that younger staff and new staff can help change culture from the bottom up - it’s not just about older people passing on their institutional knowledge.

Want to read more ? 

Tips for managers in a multi-generational workplace, by former Google executive Sarah Drinkwater https://www.ft.com/content/f56d6a1b-9d64-4380-ac84-a44cb1bebb0f

The return of the corporate handbook, helping to create workplace culture for everyone. By Emma Jacobs https://www.ft.com/content/b69d4fb7-9b6b-4507-bb0e-ac9a02de37ba

Why reverse mentoring works and how to get it right - from Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/2019/10/why-reverse-mentoring-works-and-how-to-do-it-right

What younger staff expect from their managers - tl;dr - they want a LOT of information and feedback. This is a really useful survey from IMD business school https://www.imd.org/research-knowledge/articles/making-generational-differences-work-what-empirical-research-reveals-about-leading-millennials/

We love to hear from you. What do you like (or not)? What topics should we tackle in 2022? Email the team at workingit@ft.com or Isabel directly at isabel.berwick@ft.com. Follow @isabelberwick on Twitter 

Subscribe to Working It wherever you get your podcasts - please listen, rate and subscribe!

Presented by Isabel Berwick. Editorial direction from Renée Kaplan. Assistant producer is Persis Love. Sound design is by Breen Turner, with original music from Metaphor Music. Produced by Novel.



See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Transcripts are not currently available for all podcasts, view our accessibility guide.

Get alerts on Working It when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Comments have not been enabled for this article.