A survey of nearly 1,000 leaders by Carey Nieuwhof reveals there are deep mistrust and discouragement between younger and older leaders about how they feel towards one another. Younger leaders feel older counterparts are stubborn and inflexible in decision-making and accepting change, while older leaders believe younger people are entitled, don’t work hard and think they have all the answers.
“Ok, Boomer!” Younger leaders often express this sarcastically about older leaders, believing their POV is “old school.”
Conversely, older leaders often complain about younger leaders “not getting it” and “wanting to move too fast without all the facts.”
The tension between these two groups of leaders can hurt companies, bottom lines, results, and the ability to attract great talent (of all ages).
No generation has all the answers!
Bridging this generation gap now is important. Otherwise, it will become too wide and too deep.
According to a study done by Carey Nieuwhof, here are the 5 key issues:
- They’re not open to change. Younger leaders feel older leaders are stuck in the past or fearful of rocking the boat.
- Older leaders are inflexible. The traditional power style and attitude from the past don’t work today.
- They think they know everything. Everyone believes their POV is right!
- Too many rules. Younger leaders dislike rules, and will ignore them, until it’s too late.
- Too slow. Embracing change takes time and impacts decisions being made.
As a Leader, How Do You Bridge the Generation Gap?
- Communication is Everything! Yes, this can be difficult for both sides to hear! “If only they would see it my way, there wouldn’t be a communication issue.” Everyone needs to slow down and learn how to listen and communicate in a respectful way so that others can hear you. I promise, you will find commonalities within your disagreements. These commonalities can be used to bridge generation gaps and build win-win-win outcomes. But, only if you’re willing to take the time.
- Build Win-Win-Win Outcomes. Many times, we believe our judgments and biases are right. We hurt relationships and sideline our careers because we haven’t learned how to create win-win-win outcomes. Take workshops (yes, more than one) on how to understand where your judgments and biases come from. With this new awareness, you can positively impact your decisions, communication, and ability to work well with others!
- Appreciate and Understand Others. Use a qualified assessment tool to do this. This will help you better understand yourself and others. You will learn not everyone thinks or behaves as you do! They have their own interests. Appreciating differences and learning how to value them will bridge widening generational gaps.
- Critical Thinking. Many people rely on information posted on the internet and sound bites offered by thought leaders. They believe these statements are the truth! These leaders (both young and old) fail to engage in a healthy sense of skepticism and question the validity of what they are reading or hearing. Take the time to get to the truth. It will save your company customers, time, money … and even your career.
- Be Open to Learning. Too often we are not open to learning what we don’t know. Mostly because we don’t know what we don’t know! (Yes, reread that one!) Attend workshops and training programs with an open mind. Be a sponge. Then, learn from your coach, mentor, and other leaders how to use these insights to bridge the generation gap.
©Jeannette Seibly 2020
Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning dynamic results coach and keynote speaker. For the past 27 years, she has guided the creation of leaders to excel in achieving results. Are you ready for an unprecedented 2020? Contact Jeannette today for straight talk with dynamic results. Don’t forget to listen to NEW podcasts on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.