Leaders Young & Old: #TChat Preview

Here’s a pop quiz: When was the last time you reported to a manager older than yourself? Younger than yourself? The workforce is multi-generational, but unlike 10 or even 20 years ago, age is not the primary determinant of management status. Many organizations are less hierarchical by design; matrix management may have fallen out of favor as a leadership style, but in many workplaces it’s the de facto organizational structure.

From an HR or leadership point of view it’s clear talent shouldn’t be chosen by age, but for raw ability, skills and vision. Leaders must combine strategic understanding of the business’s goals with tactical ability to execute to plan. They need soft skills too — lots of capable individuals don’t have what it takes to lead.

So we’re puzzling here at TalentCulture World of Work about multi-generational workforces, why (or if) it’s problematic for older workers to be led by the younger ones (because they say “like” every other word, perhaps?), and how to achieve cultural fit when managers are younger than their staffs.

The term “reverse mentoring” has come up, but we’re curious what the crowd thinks, so we’re throwing it open to our #TChat tribe to help us find clarity. We’re also wondering if there’s technology out there that may help smooth out the younger manager–older worker dynamic. Here are a few of the questions we’ll be discussing this week:

Q1: Used to be, age was synchronous with seniority & mgmt. How has the multi-generational workforce changed that?

Q2: Does leadership come when experience meets the right context of strategy, tactics & soft skills? Why or not?

Q3: Why is it so hard for older workers to be led by younger ones beyond the usual cliches?

Q4: What can orgs do better to assess & execute cultural fit as well as employee & leadership development?

Q5: What technologies can help facilitate the older employee/younger manager dynamic and how?

Please join us Wednesday night, Sept. 26, from 7-8pm ET (6-7pm CT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are). Look for yours truly (@MeghanMBiro) and Kevin W. Grossman (@KevinWGrossman) on the #TChat stream. We’re open to your thoughts on reverse mentoring, culture and multi-generational workforces, so bring your thoughts (in 120-character blocks) to this week’s TalentCulture #TChat.

We’re fortunate to have guest moderator Mark Babbitt (@YouTernMark) and the team at YouTern (@YouTern), where Mark is CEO and founder, lending their wisdom this week as we all explore reverse mentoring, culture and the many roles workers will fill as they progress through life.

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

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