In recent job interviews, a just-turned-30 acquaintance has been rejected for lack of experience. Additionally he is often told that older persons already in the hiring organization wouldn’t be comfortable with a younger leader. And yet, he has kept a sense of humor, sending me an e-mail with this subject line: “How to sound younger in an interview.”
Having worked with this person on multiple projects in a variety of settings, I have come to appreciate his creative ideas and insights. I have seen him work successfully with people of all ages. On more than one project, his leadership led to changes that could not have been imagined by someone embedded in the system for the past 10 or 20 years.
I have worked with and supervised persons younger than me, and in turn, been supervised by younger persons. In all of these relationships, I have benefited from younger persons’ thoughtful leadership and management abilities. I have learned to see the world and organizations in different ways, to see my role and my self in new ways.
I value the contributions of all persons, no matter their age, in the organizations where I participate. If your organization is tied to a particular map of how the world works – i.e. older persons always supervise younger persons, I challenge you to adventure to the map edge and discover the power and opportunity of experiencing the extra-ordinary.