Why Young Leaders Drive Old Leaders Crazy

Young leaders are full of piss and vinegar because they haven’t failed enough. Old leaders look down their noses and think, “You’ll smarten up after you get knocked down a few times.”

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Old leaders feel superior to young leaders because young leaders haven’t paid their dues. Young leaders devalue the value of experience when they think, “Paying your dues is over-rated.”

Political capital:

Young leaders don’t appreciate what old leaders put on the line to support them. When young leaders screw up, they don’t realize they diminish the prestige of those who selected them.

Young leaders who walk away when things get hard weaken old leaders who are gutting it out.

10 Tips for young leaders:

  1. Make everyone around you look good. Nothing good comes from pointing out the bad in others when you’re a young leader.
  2. Celebrate and thank more. One strength of young leaders is dissatisfaction. But, when dissatisfaction turns negative, influence declines.
  3. Slow down when you feel barriers lifting. Enthusiasm and good ideas don’t lower resistance – connection does. People won’t see how smart you are when they’re protecting themselves from you.
  4. Use personal rather than accusatory language. “Our slow progress makes me feel trapped,” is better than, “You aren’t moving fast enough.”
  5. Respect and answer the fears of old leaders. You scare old leaders when you don’t appreciate their fears.
  6. Channel passion, enthusiasm, and excitement into focus and resolve. Calm determination has more power than vein popping enthusiasm.
  7. Tease out the suggestions of experienced leaders. Say something like, “So, if we go the way you suggest, the next steps are…” Old leaders love to be taken seriously.
  8. Don’t pressure people to get on your team. Get on theirs.
  9. Say what you want. “How can I gain respect?” “Will you help me gain a voice?”
  10. Honor experience.

How can young leaders gain a place at the table?

The other side of the coin: Looking Down on Young Leaders