There is much to gain from the age old idea of learning from our elders, especially when it comes to leadership. Millennials like it, tweet it, post it, blog it, and watch videos all at the same time. We dive in to social media to make deep connections with causes, people, and ideas. Other generations can be overwhelmed and intimidated by this lifestyle that wasn’t even thought of a decade ago. These generational differences lead to different ideas about what leadership looks like in an organization.
The most recent Daring to Lead survey (Cornelius, Moyers, & Bell, 2011) of Executive Directors reported that “thirty-six percent of leaders said there would not be a credible staff candidate for the executive position should they leave today” (Corneilus et al., 2011, para. 10). This creates an opportunity to strengthen emerging leader’s talents to serve in the context of their organization.
How can we engage with each other to provide successful dialogue that moves our organizations forward?
There is an opportunity to link the knowledge of the past to the ideas of the future to create a lasting legacy for the future and to deepen the sector’s experience of contributing back to improve organizations. Increased collaboration is seen as having the potential for improved outcomes for organizations. Through collaboration, organizations can often see increased revenue, decreased expenses, and/or significantly improved impact through collaborative engagement strategies with key stakeholders. There needs be a focus on breaking silos of generations, race, power, and gender to creating a cohesive and collaborative environment with a clear vision of the organization.
LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND
Younger generations are so full of ideas, ways to change the world to make it better, and how to connect everyone to their ideas. While other generations may be quick to share their wisdom they have gained over their years of experience, before they listen. There needs to be time set aside for generations to listen to each other and allow them to understand what they each have to offer the organization.
In organizations each generation has a responsibility to learn! Younger generations need to reach out and ask for advice and feedback. Then take the feedback to improve and adapt as a leader. Millennials are hungry for direction and want to succeed as leaders. Boomers and Xers may lack some digital skills; however are wealth of talent, have had experiences, and developed skills to become positive leaders.
In the dynamics of an organization there is room for seasoned leaders to gain insight from the younger generations. Such leaders are able to learn innovative ways to engage their organization, take their experiences and talents adapt them to stay relevant in today’s ever evolving world.
KEEP THE FUTURE IN MIND
Without this model of inter-generational learning the implications will be severe and cause us to continue to make the same mistakes made in the past without realizing it.