A leader has to consider how well they are connecting with the people that follow them. The rule of thumb, age-wise states as follows:
12 up, 12 down
That means, if you’re 50 years old, people from 38 to 62 are going to think you’re very credible, just in terms of your life stage. 80 year olds though, may consider you an upstart, while 20 years olds may view you as a hopeless dinosaur.
12 up 12 down has many implications. Here are two for older workers, and one for younger ones.
- If you’re older, don’t try to pretend you’re young and cool. You’re not and it’s obvious to those that know. Instead, find young sharp leaders to develop who can build their generational teams
- Time moves quickly, and while you still may feel young, you’re looked at as old. Make efforts to stay current. Read more, pay attention to how you dress, stay current with the changing world
- If you’re young and working with older teams, win respect with behaviours prized by older generations – work ethic, attention to duty, punctuality and so on
- Don’t be upset that you can’t make inroads with older business contacts. They’re like a piece of Lego – all their snaps are already used up with people of their own generation. Make your own connections with people of your generation. Before you know it, they’ll be the movers and shakers of the world