Last week’s column addressed “What Older Employees Can Learn From Young Executives.” Granted, all five characteristics represent generalizations and aren’t universally applicable. But as generalizations, they guide thinking toward positive expectations.
The same can be said about what younger managers can learn from older employees. Stereotypical thinking, for sure. Nevertheless, the following traits are common in older employees—and well worth considering.
What Young Managers Learn From Older Employees: 4 Attitudes
Traditionalists and Boomers were taught to let others do the bragging. When they’ve earned the gold watch after 40 years or built their entrepreneurial venture, they take a bow modestly. When faced with competition or conflict, they embrace Frank Sinatra’s observation, “The best revenge is massive success.”
The evidence of humility? Grandparents don’t mind having their grandkids teach them all about their smart phone, program their TV’s remote control, or rewire their sound system. The 60-something CEO will ask the savvy teen next door to build him a website for his hobby and teach him how to log in to update it. The seasoned executive may select an oncologist who has just finished her residency to ensure she’s getting someone familiar with the very latest research and techniques for treatment.
Older employees have lived long enough to know what they don’t know—and be humbled by that knowledge.