Multigenerational Communication & Cross-mentorship

By Dana Buchanan

The professional world of administrative and executive assistants and support staff is an exceptional melting pot of backgrounds, experience, knowledge, gender, age, education and personalities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017 there were 22 million administrative support occupation positions recorded in the United States alone! Worldwide the number rises to make the profession one of the largest groups ever! This unique blend offers countless opportunities for multigenerational communication and cross-mentorship.

Each generation and career level offer valuable knowledge. It’s an exciting and unique time in history that we work with such a diverse group of peers; varied age ranges, varied technologies and learning levels, traditional and experienced based education, etc. Cross-mentorship is a necessity. Whether I work with someone 20 years younger or older than me, I not only share and teach through my own work experience, but I also learn through their background and knowledge. This type of multigenerational communication and cross-mentorship not only keeps an experienced professional learning and excited about the profession, but also provides an opportunity to create a work legacy.

When given the opportunity to meet with someone fairly new to the profession and someone embracing an upcoming retirement to explore even more in life, I enthusiastically embrace the moment and ask several questions of each! A willingness to learn and confidence to teach creates the roadmap to keeping our professional world evolving and relevant. We are all contributors to that mapping. The diverse team has combined organizational and time management skills, event and meeting planning, business savvy, continued professional development drive and so much more to ensure success and positive outcomes.

A multigenerational team offers executives and managers more than just support assistance. The team shares varied views and appropriate input for decision making that helps promote the company’s mission. Cross-mentorship encourages each department and team member to work consistently while staying current on new programs, processes, tips and more.

Professional and personal development are keys to keeping one of the largest workforce teams educated and invested in not only their own growth, but the growth and success of the company and field they have chosen to share their knowledge with.

There are a variety of ways administrative professionals and the companies they work for can support multigenerational communication and cross-mentoring. Below are a few suggestions:

  • Communicate with a wider variety of professionals face to face at local chapter meetings or with virtual connections
  • Attendance to national or international conferences together or individually
  • Time to read and share professional blogs, articles, books, and webinars (most are free!)
  • Companies can invite or designate an in-house speaker to meet with the group quarterly & provide industry-specific professional development training
  • Encourage and seek program training from in-house IT employees as a team or individually

Gaining knowledge and confidence by supporting, learning from, and teaching one another not only helps each of us develop personally and professionally, but also productively supports the executive teams.

Knowledge is power. All of us have knowledge to share and new knowledge to learn. Seek answers, ask questions, share your skills…never stop learning.

What is one piece of knowledge you would like to share with other professionals today?

What is one question you would like to ask others in our chosen profession?

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Dana (right) with Joan Burge at the 2017 Conference for Administrative Excellence

Dana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.

www.danabuchanan.com

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