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7 Actionable Steps to Resolving Generational Conflicts

Written by Stella H. Kim

Published March 16, 2023

Applying the HRCap 7A Conflict Resolution Model

Generational Differences - Individual Differences of those from Different Generations

Stella Kim, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President at HRCap

Generational conflicts have progressively become a serious concern in the United States. They exist in personal relationships, households, organizations, and our greater society. Generational conflicts have led to resignations at workplaces and complete communication barriers among family members. Even the term “age discrimination” has emerged.

Generational conflicts cannot be resolved through policy enforcement or power coercion based on statuses and hierarchies. This would only be superficially addressing and clouding the issue, thereby further aggravating the conflict at hand. Conflicts become even more toxic if avoided.

That said, how can we resolve these conflicts constructively and wisely? How do we transform the negative energy caused by generational conflicts into a positive source of growth?

We can apply the ‘HRCap 7A Conflict Resolution Model,’ a seven-step actionable guideline, to effectively approach and resolve the varying conflicts in our lives.

1. Accept - Many overlook this critical step. We must first have the genuine desire to resolve and overcome the conflict. Accept the situation with an open mind, be sincere in our approach, and take full accountability to resolve the conflict.

2. Acknowledge - Instead of dismissing or avoiding the conflict, we must acknowledge the conflict by leaning in. Communicate openly and listen carefully to truly recognize the situation and understand the reality.

3. Assess - We must identify and assess the cause of the problem. Focus on understanding ‘why’ the conflict happened rather than looking at ‘what’ the problem is. Take a step back to see it from the other’s perspective and be able to think, “I see your point,” “That’s fair enough,” “I can understand.”

4. Appreciate - We must learn to sympathize and appreciate our differences. Recognize our own shortcomings, and celebrate the other’s strengths. Be grateful that we are able to address other underlying issues and prevent future conflicts by identifying the root of the conflict.

5. Align - We must have alignment. Continuously communicate to reduce the gap. Build consensus by deliberating on the requirements, and accommodate to collectively reach a reasonable solution.

6. Adapt - We must consistently make an effort to adjust and adapt to reach the derived solution. It’s okay for each to take a slight loss for the greater benefit of all.

7. Advance - We must advance through change. The conflict can only be considered truly resolved should there be effective change and proper development in the situation, the relationship, and our own selves.

Source: HRCap, 7A Conflict Resolution Model

Generational conflict is inevitable given changes with times, differences in values, varying experiences across generations, and rising advancement of technologies. The essence is being able to approach and solve these conflicts by learning to empathize and honor the differences. Instead of simply stereotyping and imparting biases, we must be able to look at generational differences as, in fact, “individual differences of those from different generations.” We must accept conflicts as growth opportunities in disguise. Only then can we walk the path of coexistence and collective growth.

As such, we must learn to communicate. We need to productively express our dissatisfaction and constructively overcome conflicts. This will not only allow us to be more successful, but also live more meaningfully with deeper perspectives, a heart full of grace, and stronger self-worth. We must strive to become the talent companies compete to hire, the colleague peers ask to collaborate with, the respected leader employees wish to work under, the acquaintance that allows positive influence, and the person that always radiates gratitude and happiness.

Stella H. Kim

HRCap - Chief Marketing Officer & Global VP

Source: HRCap, The Korea Daily, JoongAng Ilbo

Adapted Into HRCap Instatoons


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