Many young leaders are leading those of older generations.
Some have learned how to do this well, while others are struggling.
What are some mistakes young leaders can make when leading those of older generations? Here are five mistakes, and what can they do about it:
- Ignore generational differences. Instead, learn about those of older generations. Learn what motivates them. Learn how their views differ from your views. There are several good books and other resources out there that help explain the differences in generations. Learning about generational differences will help you become a better leader both now and later.
- Ignore their experience. Instead, respect their experience. Understand that their experience can value to the table. Ask them questions. Get their input. You may be surprised how valuable of a team member they can be for you.
- Ignore their historical knowledge. Instead, treasure it. There is great worth in the personal knowledge of an organization’s history. Knowing the history of an organization, its past decision-making, and its people helps you avoid future mistakes. You need it, and they have it.
- Ignore what they can do that you can’t do. Instead, recognize how they can help you lead. Those of older generations often have significant relational capital that can only come with tenure. They are trusted by others in ways that you cannot. They can have conversations with others in ways that you cannot. For young leaders, this is incredibly valuable as they look to lead others.
- Ignore them. Instead, pay attention to them. Having those of older generations on your team can be incredibly helpful. To simply dismiss a team member because of age is a huge mistake.
Leaders are stewards of people. Young leaders should consider the worth older generation bring to them and the organization. They can be the difference-maker in the young leader’s ability to lead others.