7 Ways to Deal with Old Leaders

Old leaders who ignore or belittle young leaders close the door on the future.


To young leaders:


Old foolish leaders are inconsistent.

  1. They despise your sense of entitlement, but they feel entitled.
  2. They speak bluntly, but expect you to speak kindly.
  3. They expect you to listen, but they don’t.
  4. They want respect, but look down on youth.


  1. Making the achievements of others look easy.
  2. Acting like you have something to prove. Defensiveness disguises fear and weakness.
  3. Needing to look smarter and trying to outdo.
  4. Looking down on the older generation.

7 ways to deal with old leaders:

  1. Honor what old leaders have built, even if you want to change it. They worked hard to build what you’re complaining about.
  2. Practice curiosity. Ask three questions before making one statement.
  3. Show gratitude, lots of it. Gratitude answers tendencies toward arrogance.
  4. Display humility, lots of it. People who’ve been around a long time expect respect.
  5. Work hard calmly. Frantic doesn’t earn respect. Calm your spirit.
  6. Act respectfully to everyone, especially people who irritate you.
  7. Honor others even as you disagree.

To old leaders:

Successful old leaders leverage the strength and develop the talent of young leaders.

  1. Expect them to do something about their complaints. Ask, “What are you going to do about that?”
  2. Ask them to ask questions. You believe they talk too much. Ask, “What question would you like to ask?”
  3. Send them to discuss their plans with others. You believe they don’t see the impact of disruption. Send them to other departments to discuss their plan.
  4. Throw gas on their frustrations. Don’t tell them to calm down. Fire them up and expect them to serve others.

Bonus: Let them fail and learn. Lift them when they fall. A good word from you goes a long way.

How might old leaders develop young leaders?

How might young leaders succeed with old leaders?

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