What parenting has to do with workplace dynamics

(Debra Murphy/RealAgriculture)

You might think that how your parents treated you growing up has little to do with what kind of employee or manager you are (yes, even on the farm), but in fact, parenting has a profound impact on how we interact in the workplace. Everything from how we dress and present ourselves, to our priorities, to the definition of being on time, has little to do with our education or on-the-job training and everything to do with how we’re raised.

Alicia Rainwater works with the Centre for Generational Kinetics, and spoke recently at the Grow Canada event at Calgary, Alta., on how generational differences impact workplace dynamics. There’s been plenty of discussion about how each generation “should” act (leading to some very cheeky “OK, Boomer” and entitled Millennial memes), but Rainwater says parenting is a hidden driver behind our behaviour.

It means that there’s plenty to be gained by working to understand someone’s perspective on everything, from what’s an appropriate time to return a phone call, or if instant messaging is the same as face-to-face communication. Each generation — and in turn, the economic and social environment they were raised in — influences everything, from how to approach training, to preferred methods of communication, and on to how to best broach the subject of change.

Regardless of your generation, what it comes down to eventually, Rainwater says, is that managers, bosses, and workplace leaders need to be more clear on directions, set specific expectations, and communicate more — not less.

Editor’s note: Shaun is most definitely not a Baby Boomer, and is actually more accurately described as a Xennial. So there’s that.

Listen on to hear Alicia Rainwater explain how different generations can thrive side-by-side on the farm:

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