Do you know a Tweet from a hole in the ground? Leadership: Young Professionals and Older Managers

This week a gathering of blog, social media and podcast professionals will take place in New York City. The event, titled the BlogWorld & New Media Expo, is being held at the Jacob Javits Center, one of the city’s largest and busiest venues for conferences.  See:

As I was running through the list of seminars, this one caught my eye:

When It Gets Real: What Happens When Your Fun Little Personal Brand Has to Grow Up

The seminar write-up describes the session mission as, “Whether you’re a new grad or an old hand, this session will offer new insight into how young adults see the modern working world–and how that world sees them”.

The “Key Points” are described as:

  1. Young professionals learn rapidly, expect change, and adopt new technologies easily. Every strength of the Facebook Generation can be a weakness; likewise, every weakness can be a strength.
  2. Older professionals should attract top-notch Millennial employees by offering structure, variety, mentorship, and recognition.
  3. Young professionals need to manage expectations; get back to basics; know when to ask for help; and strive to understand employers’ needs.
  4. Younger managers can supervise older workers, but it takes hard work and strategic communication.
  5. Older managers can build a team of rising stars, but it takes flexibility. When generational differences become multigenerational insights, great things happen!

In my humble opinion, this is one great discussion. It makes me want to hop in the car and head into the city to hear what ensues from the intended seminar description.

While I might not make it to BlogWorld (I am going to try), I can’t pass up the chance to break this down and offer my opinions.

Here are my key points in response and corresponding to the above:

  1. Young Professionals (YP’s) do learn rapidly which is why I like to be right in the middle of a group of YP’s. The YP that can figure out how to take the Older Managers (OM’s) along with them will immediately increase their value.
  2. Learning from OM’s or simply just people with more experience is not new. As a YP, I thought I knew it all. I will never forget sitting with some older people in Atlantic City at a luncheon in a casino as they discussed business on the boardwalk decades before casinos arrived. They new small business inside and out and I learned a ton just by listening and shutting up.
  3. YP’s are not expected to know all the answers, nor can a YP find all the answers by just doing a Google search. Learn to ask a person with experience to explain the answers to your questions; then listen and learn.
  4. At 24-years-old, with three years of experience, I was put in charge of a team of ten people with a lot more experience than I had. Aretha Franklin gave the best word to manage by in this situation: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. The YP needs to respectfully let their older workers express their opinions on how things might be accomplished and adjust the outcomes accordingly. This helps the older worker to feel valued and maintain their self pride.
  5. Dear OM’s: Stop saying things like:
    a.      “I don’t get this computer stuff.”
    b.      “Facebook and Twitter? Nope!  Not on it! What a waste of time!”
    c.       “These kids with their smartphones! Ugh.”
    d.      “I ain’t Pinterested in that crap. Haha.”

There is absolutely nothing funny about your lack knowledge or understanding about what is extremely important today. Get a social media life! If you don’t know a Tweet from a hole in the ground, you will never receive R-E-S-P-E-C-T back from a YP

YP’s and OM’s unite! There is so much to learn from one another. Let’s build a campfire and make S’mores as we sing Kumbaya. We’ll find our way back in the dark with our flashlight apps.

Are you a YP or an OM? How do you view the world from where you sit and work? Are you threatened by the “other” worker? Join the conversation below.

For more information see: When It Gets Real: What Happens When Your Fun Little Personal Brand Has to Grow Up — BlogWorld


Free images from

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.