Using email does not make you a modern leader. Nor does having an iPhone make you relevant. Having a Twitter account doesn't make you a better leader. Unfortunately, neither does having a blog make you someone to follow. There is a one of kind leadership transition happening. Two different mentalities towards leadership. Boomers who think, "Work hard, prove it works, and then we'll follow you." versus the millennials mentality, "Show me the work has value then I might join you but I'd like things on my terms." Those of us in between have front row seats to a great fight, but it's pretty much a pillow fight.
Neither side will win because neither side will ever be able to land a blow that does any damage. The boomers will create systems of measurability and control. Boomers will press back against technology millennials embrace and use their age as an excuse but it's a method of control. Millennials, on the other hand, will ignore senior leadership and use technology to network amongst each other for new resources or they will create their own thing.
Is there any way the two could work together?
Of course there is. Let's talk about how:
First to the Boomers. If you want the millennial generation to join you you need to stop measuring production and start measuring your culture. Start asking questions like, "Are we doing what matters?" "Are we taking good care of our people?" "Are we taking risk on young people and giving them opportunities to lead?" "Are we helping our younger team members connect?" "Do we have a system that gives people the ability to speak into decisions?"
These questions do not take away control, they actually give you a better platform to lead from. The organizations asking these questions have no problem hiring young talent.
Now to the millennials. If you want to have more leadership work harder at the core principles of the team. Ask yourself questions like, "Do I know the core principles of this team?" "Am I successful at the basics or am I trying to get around entry level success?" "Do I seek out wisdom from those who have been successful at the core principles?" "Am I wanting success on my terms?"
It's important to demonstrate to older generations you value what made the team successful in the first place. The less you threaten those core principles the more you'll be invited to the conversation. Have a spirit of "better" and "bigger" will be a result. Bigger makes boomers feel successful.
Where do you see opportunities for boomers and millennials to work better together? Can you speak into your generations mistakes? Please leave comments below!