Chances are if you’re reading this blog, depending on your age, the title has you humming either a song you think is by Tina Turner or Ja Rule. Whether you’re seasoned in life experience or are young in your leadership, your age plays against you. When looking at an individual, it’s easy for haters to say, “They’re way too young. I could never be lead by someone in their twenties,” or “How could they lead this organization? They’ll never be able stay relevant at their age”. Haters are going to hate, but what’s age got to do with it anyway?
Let no one despise you for your youth…
Young leaders can bring a wealth of energy, innovation, vision and ambition to your team. For the young leader, it’s as if no task is unachievable; if it can be done it will be done. Give them a task and they’ll exhaust all resources to complete and exceed the set expectations. Young leaders bring great value to teams and organizations.
However, young leaders are not invincible. While it may be easy for a young leader to set vision and accomplish a goal, the greatest hurdle a young leader faces is themselves. Young leaders have to overcome the overwhelming insecurities surrounding their lack of life experience and achievements. They spend countless hours nurturing their talent while neglecting to develop their character. Being results-oriented, they overvalue the immediate and undervalue a life of dedication.
Assets of the young leader:
- They have: Passion, Ambition, Hustle, Vision
- They are: Innovative, Relevant, Risk Takers, Lion Chasers
Liabilities of the young leader:
- They lack: Wisdom, Life Experience, Discipline, Resources
- They are: Insecure, Over zealous
Tips for young leaders:
- Be slow to speak and quick to listen.
- Surround yourself with mentors who can give you the wisdom you need in decision making.
- Work hard on developing your character. Your talent can’t take you where your character can’t sustain you.
- Never stop learning.
Wisdom may be found in the company of the aged. Understanding comes with longevity…
Seasoned leaders can bring a wealth of life experience, understanding, and wisdom to your team. For the seasoned leader, there’s a level of understanding the ebb and flow of life. They’ve seen rhythms and seasons. They have experienced mountain top victories and valley low losses. They have built disciplines privately that have brought them to where they are publicly. They have impeccable emotional intelligence and bring great stability and routine to an organization.
Naturally, though, the seasoned leader has some battle wounds, scars that may make them jaded, bitter, or resentful. If not careful, pride and entitlement can cloud their judgement. Resistance to change in routine or preference handicaps their leadership and could make them the lid to the growth of their organization. Insecurity surrounding purpose, value, and relevancy present the temptation to throw in the towel. Lack of urgency disguised as caution could result in stagnancy.
Assets of the seasoned leader:
- They have: Wisdom, Life Experience, Discipline, Resources, Achievements
- They are: Secure, Emotionally intelligent, Stable, Trustworthy
Liabilities of the seasoned leader:
- They lack: Ambition, Vision, Optimism, Zeal
- They are: Opinionated, Entitled
Tips for seasoned leaders:
- Don’t stop doing what got you to where you are.
- Take roles that highlight your life experience and value your wisdom.
- Lead with principle not preference.
- Seek out young leaders to mentor.
- Never stop learning.
...So what’s age got to do with it anyway? It turns out, a lot. We’re no good on our own, no matter what our age is. It could be that building a multigenerational team that pairs the wisdom of seasoned leaders with the ambition of youthful leaders is all that’s stopping your organization from being a well rounded, fully functioning juggernaut of a machine!
Nick Smith serves as the Saratoga location pastor for Next Level Church in Saratoga Springs, New York, where he and his wife, Kristina, grew up and now reside. As a location pastor, Nick raises up leaders and oversees his volunteer teams as well as pastors those who attend NLC Saratoga. In his free time, he enjoys live music, boating, and playing golf. He and Kristina have a 20 month old daughter named Dakota.