(This post goes along with Leadership Level 2, Team Asset.)
Because I'm getting older, I've noticed some subtle differences in the way interactions are going between myself and others in my generation, as well as with those in younger generations. And often I've picked up on a few attitudes from the younger crowd. I'm sure I carried some of these same feelings and attitudes about older people in my younger days too. But now I have more wisdom about things, and I have some new insights as a result. Based on all that, I have some questions for you to consider:
1. Should it make any difference what age the person leading you happens to be? Is it easier for you to take directives from someone older, younger, your same age, or does it even matter?
2. Does it matter how this person is coming across in relation to your generation? For example, would you rather be led by a person your age, with similar hairstyles, clothing, and points of view? Or would you take things more seriously if the leader was older, even if he or she wasn't so much in touch with your generation?
I think this topic is worth discussing. Because, as an older leader, I like to know when my words are being received by the younger crowd. Let's face it, if you're in the younger generation, you probably don't want us older guys to act and dress just like you, especially if we need to lead you in a given area or project. And often leaders in the older bracket don’t prefer younger people trying to act older or more mature than they need to. With all this going on in and around our leadership, it’s no wonder we might have trust issues between the generations of leaders.
If some of this seems confusing, then let me make it simple. Being relevant is always a factor when interacting with each other, but then so is respect. People naturally respond better when they feel they are being taken seriously. We may not always agree on things, and especially if we are in different generations. But as leaders, we can and should find a way to respect each other in the journey.
Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another.
–Romans 12:10 (GNT)