Learning to Develop Mutual Respect and Professional Co-Existence Between the Generations

Are You a Responsible Leader

A Good Leader Strives to Invest and Develop the Employees While Teaching Respect

Each generation is determined to have their own identity, and our currently younger generations in the workforce are no different.  As a Baby Boomer, we insisted on dressing differently with hip-hugger and bell-bottom blue jeans, many of the girls wore “tops” that looked like maternity blouses, and then there were the mini-skirts — and we wore them as short as possible!  Crazy!!!

We also had our own language — many of the words are still used, like “cool, man”, or “peace”, etc.  I remember in a Civic class our teacher, who happened to be young – fresh out of college, tried talking to us like he “understood us”.  He would refer to our parents as part of the “establishment”, and how we wanted change.  Does this sound familiar?

The younger generation always thinks their parents and older are handling everything “all wrong”.  The youth believe they have “the experience” to be wiser.  REALLY?  In all fairness, there is always room for improvements, or someone else might have a better solution, but I also believe something my father stressed.  That a sign of real intelligence is one who “respects others”.  Otherwise, those who believe they are always right are just “arrogant”.

With this point in mind, I would encourage our younger generation to learn to be respectful of those with more experience and at least listen and give that experienced individual a chance to share his/her perspective and allow this information time to digest its validity.

No doubt, the younger generation possesses valuable intelligence that will prove to be credible, especially with “seasoning”; but there is something to be said about “the value of listening” and the “importance of being respectful of others”.

There have been many stories and anecdotes on this topic: The Tortoise and The Rabbit, and even the song, “The Cat’s in the Cradle”.  Though many in business are trying to encourage those established leaders to tap into the creativity, energy, and fresh ideas of the younger generation, this should be tempered with a slower, more deliberate examination of a situation and its details.  It would seem that there needs to be a balance between allowing the younger generation to explore and absorb, while sharing their thoughts and findings with their elders.  No generation has a guarantee on being right.  Life is full of learning curves.  To begin with mutual respect should produce many positive outcomes and a wiser population.

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