This blog post comes from Dan Reiland. It is one of the best I have read in sometime. – STEVE
Leading someone older than you can be challenging.
As the Boomer generation ages and hands the baton of leadership to the X’ers and Millennials, more and more young leaders find themselves leading those older than themselves.
This is an important question: Why do some young leaders do it well and some do it poorly?
I remember the first time this really hit me. On my first day as Executive Pastor in San Diego, I suddenly realized I would be leading staff who were older and more experienced than I was. That was intimidating, to say the least. Thoughts went through my mind like, “What do I have to offer them?” And, “Why would they listen to me?
When young staff leads older volunteers with more life experience, they often encounter the same feeling. Over the years I’ve learned that’s a pretty natural response. In fact, it’s actually healthy.
In contrast, if a younger leader assumes, and behaves like they know more than the older leaders they serve, that’s a pretty arrogant disposition. That never goes well.
Even though intimidation, insecurity or lack of confidence can be part of a normal response to leading people with more life experience than you, it’s important for you not to get stuck there. Don’t let your leadership become paralyzed because you are young. You have much to offer.
7 Insights to help young leaders lead older leaders:
1) Remember, you were chosen.
You were picked from all the others. There’s a reason for that. Someone, or several people, saw gifts, talents, and ability in you. Whether you were hired onto a staff team or you were asked to be a leader in a volunteer role, they chose you!
Don’t talk yourself out of deserving this opportunity to lead people. If you focus on their good and the good of the church, you are off to a good start.
2) Embrace the truth that they want you to win.
It’s extremely rare that someone wants you to fail, particularly those who are older than you. Yes, sometimes a few can be difficult, but every once in a while you can be difficult too. Right?
They want you to win. Think about how hard they have worked for a long time; they want all that effort to matter.
If you also want them to “win” spiritually, in their family life, at work and in life in general, this group will eagerly follow you! And they may become your most loyal and strongest advocates.