Navigating generational issues

Here are some tips on navigating generational issues in the workplace.

If a behaviour is bothering you, identify your thoughts on what it means.

  • Does it appear that a student may be being intentionally rude or unprofessional?
  • What do you think is motivating this person?

Consider alternative explanations.

  • While your initial thoughts may indeed be accurate, consider alternative motivators for a student’s behavior.
  • What do you think the student is assuming about what is acceptable or reasonable?
  • Where might those assumptions stem from?

Be an open and clear communicator.

The best way to address intergenerational issues is to discuss them openly.

Some suggestions on approaching this situation…

  • Respectfully, and with curiosity, ask the student about the behaviour in question.
  • After obtaining their impression, you can offer your perception of the situation, and where that comes from.
  • Creating a greater understanding of where each person is coming from can de-escalate a tense situation.

[1] Preceptor Development Initiative: Supporting health preceptors in practice. (n.d.). E-tips for practice education modules. Retrieved from