The professional playing field of an organization is filled with a diverse community of players. Organizational age discrimination is commonly experienced in the corporate environment. As on a playing field, managers, like coaches, must always be aware of players’ strengths and weaknesses. When opportunities within the organization become available, managers, prepared with sensitivity and wisdom, can guide their team into the best position to accomplish their task assigned and common goal. An effective manager will utilize the diversity of his team players in order to meet the goal of the organization. This may require stepping out of comfort zones in order to meet the criteria of the task at hand. It may require that each player works with someone from another ethnic background, culture, race, age, or gender to reach the common goal. Discrimination can cause an organization to fulminate from within, destroying the common vision. The corporate environment is a recycling bin with new players exiting and entering while creating variable organizational age diversity. The new, often young members arrive with fresh ideas, new abilities, educational enlightenment, and exciting technological knowledge. These vibrant players are often placed in leadership roles based solely on their educational accomplishments. Unless they have had training in cultural and ethnic diversity, their experience and knowledge base is limited. Management training of age diversity is almost non-existent. The corporate environment has become rich in cultural and ethnic diversity as it expands into a worldwide environment. It is with this new eagerness, openness, and willingness, that the corporate team frequently does not properly utilize the aged employee. Consider what the older, mature team member brings to the organization. When a team chooses to utilize the older team player to nourish, instruct, guide, and mentor, the younger team member, then the strength of the corporate network becomes capable of richly powering an ever-changing environment. Illustrations have been shown how cross-cultural mentoring requires the shedding of old beliefs and learning of new. The communication process between the mature team member and the young team member requires patience, respect, kindness, and most of all, the ability to listen. These skills are not commonly taught in the educational domain to the enthusiastic, energetic, youthful team member. These are soft skills that are developed from years of experience, lessons of learning, and length of service. I believe that a willingness to “learn how to learn” and the ability to “learn from experience” are among the best ways of coping with continuous change. It is with this willingness to learn that our mature players and our younger players in the corporate environment can prepare for the discrimination felt in the culturally diverse playing field of our organizational environment. This reminds us to resolve to eliminate stereotypes and generalizations in our thinking. By understanding ourselves better, we can seek to better understand others. Mentoring of the younger new employee by the mature experienced employee will best meet the corporate vision. If the experienced employee is also age mature, the opportunity of the new, frequently younger employee, to gain communication and listening skills are enhanced. In the organizational game field, the mentoring process is a reflective process. The less mature member often enhances the organizational team with unlimited energy and enthusiasm. The older team member brings wisdom, a lifetime of experience, a large knowledge base, and a trusted work ethnic, to the corporate playing field. Meshing the two together, youth and maturity, will enable an organization to succeed employing the best of both worlds. Creating organizational age diversity in the corporate environment will offer success in the constantly changing world of cultural and ethnic change. The corporate playing field would best succeed by incorporating all age groups in continued learning, training, and mentoring in order to reach the desired goals of the corporation. The acceptance of organizational age diversity is attainable if groups are given the opportunity for communication and encouragement and the sharing of the company’s knowledge base to each generation.
Posted on July 12, 2010