Multi-generational Leadership: 5 Tips for Bridging for Success

How do we take advantage of multi-generational leadership?

Bridging the leadership age gap

Business is changing, and a new generation of young leaders and CEOs is emerging. Family-owned businesses are transitioning control to 30 year old offspring. Innovative startups are often headed by young entrepreneurs. Established organizations seek young leaders attuned to the modern technologic age.

Business veterans can suddenly find themselves working with, or for, CEOs and top level managers young enough to be their offspring. The old peer network of contemporaries is dissolving into a memory. Multi-generational leadership is a fact of life.

Business is a whole new world. Technology, diversity, social responsibility and the speed of change have created new norms, new possibilities and new expectations. Tomorrow’s problems and their solutions have yet to be created.

At the same time, however, the fundamentals of business remain constant. Finance, marketing, operations, leadership, innovation and working for a purpose remain inviolate. Communication is and will always be critical. There is no substitute for experience.

The scenario is filled with challenges and opportunities. How do you design a working relationship to capitalize on collective strengths while avoiding destructive attitudes? How do we take this dynamic moment, and create success? Consider the following:

  1. Respect differences. Not everyone will be a polished diplomat, or a whiz at social media. A successful business needs every skill set available. Tomorrow’s solutions must be created. Everyone’s talents, knowledge and gifts are important.
  2. This is not your parent, this is not your child. This is business. Leave the emotional baggage behind. Relate as professional peers.
  3. Ask, listen, and understand. Communication is critical. No one is a villain, or irrational, in their own eyes. Work together to understand the goals desired and the processes considered. Find the best way to achieve those goals.
  4. Learn from each other. The world of knowledge and experience is vast. Take advantage of the training and experiences of colleagues.
  5. Get to know the individual. Generalizations are just that. Take time to meet the whole person. You might find a best friend in the least likely package.

Multi-generational leadership creates great opportunities. Use all the resources available, the skills, experiences and knowledge of every team member. Explore resources and  options. Work together, as one, and create excellence and success.

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