Some recent experiences – both personal and professional – are making it clear to me that there are critical partnerships that need to be built between those of us with many years of management experience (the Old Dogs) and the 30 somethings (Bright Young Things) that are emerging from a wide variety of graduate programs who are going to be the next generation of business and not for profit leaders. I have been struck not only by the speed of their brains and their capacity to understand and analyse but also their work ethic. These are people who grew up being told that they could succeed at whatever they wanted to do and they are committed to do just that, whatever field of endeavour they tackle. While they can hardly wait for the Baby Boomers to move on and let them run things, the Bright Young Things also seem to recognize that they can learn something from us. And the dialogue that ensues is rich, and dynamic. In my encounters with a representative sample of these future leaders, I feel energized and excited to be supporting them to find their way. And I am learning new things which is always a natural high for a curious person.
As someone who worries about the coming crisis in leadership when the Boomer generation finally retires, I am revising my outlook on this transition as I can see the wonderful opportunity to infuse our corporate and non profit agencies with leaders who may be more creative, more self aware, and more confident than many of us were at the time that we assumed leadership positions. If we can forge partnerships where we can impart some of the wisdom we have gained through coaching and mentorship relationships, I suggest that the future could be very bright.