Experienced Gens Lead by Example
Posted on May 12, 2014 by TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd)
We are NOT all equal
Here’s a thought for the older generations in the workplace today, and I refer to mostly Veterans and Baby Boomers: You are NOT equal to your millennial and Gen-Xer coworkers. It is my contention that when it comes to experience on-the-job, or just life experience in general, one cannot deny that “we should know better” so to speak when it comes to certain matters at work. Therefore, it is up to us to be the mature leaders that our younger counterparts will want to look up to. You do not have to be a manager or VP to be this kind of leader. Simply by virtue of your age, you are automatically a leader. HOWEVER, WE OLDER GENS LEAD BY EXAMPLE.
Anyone, no matter what generation, can lead by example, but Veterans and Boomers are looked up to for their experience. I notice more and more that my younger coworkers will ask for my advice and recommendations for work related and non-work related things. This is indeed very flattering and sometimes reminds me I am someone’s parent, and grandmother, to which it’s comforting for me to know I can help someone with my acquired knowledge and life experience. I don’t want to push it on anyone, but I certainly offer it freely when asked and give my advice of “tried and true” methods I’ve used in the past. Yet, I don’t want to act old and stodgy, but as with anything else in life there is that balance.
At work, the various generations all want to be on equal turf when it comes to management’s treatment of employees. And that is why companies establish rules and states have their labor laws. But there is always the unspoken, human interaction between the generations that cannot be denied. Therefore, I say to the older generations, be a good example for the younger ones. Some of them do not have solid footing in the workplace yet, and others can be rather naïve when it comes to certain issues. You don’t want to be parenting them. That would be ill-advised on my part. We are all adults, but this kind of leadership is more of a gentle guidance than being bossy and dictatorial.
Since I am the oldest of 7 children, I remember having to always hear from my parents, “You’re the oldest and you must set a good example for your younger siblings.” I felt that was such a burden for me being a young person myself at the time, but later on from speaking with my brothers and sisters, they actually did look up to me and want to follow in my footsteps. I know there’s a ton of jokes in there somewhere, but seriously, it was a good feeling to learn that after all these years.