How Young Entrepreneurs Want Their Older Colleagues to View Them
YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council) surveyed some folks about how young leaders really want their older colleagues to see them. Here are their responses.
How do you want to be seen by older peers/colleagues? Why is that important?
1. As Important
I want to have them see me as important to the growth of the company. When I sold my last company I was ousted. Since then, the company failed because they were unwilling to listen to someone 30 years younger. Take into consideration that younger people are important and just as crucial to a business, though they bring new ideas that might not resonate with older colleagues.
I’m a firm believer that being a connector who makes mutually valuable introductions for people in your network is invaluable. If older peers and colleagues think of me as a valuable connector, I couldn’t ask for anything better because I know that they’ll come to me to help them achieve their goals, which will only deepen our relationship.
Although some older peers are up to speed on recent technological advancements and trends within my industry, many are not yet using new methods and strategies. I want to be seen as an innovator — an individual that is a part of the changes that occur in the way we do business everyday, someone who knows about new ways of doing things, someone that can help make their lives easier.
I’ll be honest, I care more now about my appearance than I did earlier in my career. People want to work with successful people, and having a professional appearance is part of how I communicate my success. I also want to be seen as cutting edge. Since Start Ranking Now is a tech company, it’s important for us to have a reputation for knowing and understanding the latest changes in the industry.
Today, motivated people tend to be successful because they are willing to experiment, do new things and learn everyday. Whereas people who are knowledgeable but not motivated tend to stick with traditional ways of operating, instead of thinking about new creative ideas.
I think older colleagues sometimes assume young people are going to be disrespectful because of all the myths out there about Millennials. I want my older peers to know that I respect their experience and consider their opinions thoroughly, even if I don’t end up following their advice.
I want to be viewed as rational and fair. Often, leaders are persuaded by friendships or other emotional considerations and I like to be viewed as an impartial, rational decision maker who makes decisions based on what is best for the business, my client or our employees.
As more of a Gen-Xer, we can easily get lumped into the Millennial category by our older peers, complete with all stereotypes (fair or unfair). There is a perceived lack of attention to detail, lack of appreciation for the detail and lack of “grind” that goes into building something sustainable for the long term. My older colleagues know I am younger, but I want them to see as having an old-school work ethic, too.
I am often the youngest entrepreneur in our target market (the federal government). I want to be seen as a critical team member. I want them to ask, “Where is Tamara?” or to state, “We need Tamara now!” Being viewed as a critical team member means having a seat at the table early in the decision-making process. This access allows me to positively influence my clients and my community.
If you really want to win influence with people, you have to actually listen to their ideas with respect and an open mind, and you have to maintain open lines of communication. No matter how innovative my ideas are, I’ll never get participation from older peers and colleagues unless I make it clear that what they think is worthy of my time and attention, and that I value our relationship.
Some of my older peers grew up in a generation without Internet. They built companies, quite literally, with their hands. Since they’re on the opposite side of the digital divide, I want them to know I’m not afraid to build something. Whether it’s my own company or the shed in my backyard, I’ve gained respect by letting people know I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty.
I want older members of my team and older peers within my industry to see me as someone who holds themselves to their word, and someone who tells the truth. Older generations often perceive younger folks as being flighty and lacking seriousness. If I’m honest and accountable, I’ll be able to build solid business relationships with people of all ages.
When I am speaking with older peers in the wine and spirits industry, one of my goals is to be viewed as innovative and entrepreneurial but also respectful to established executives and companies who can offer wisdom and guidance. This is key to our business as we are constantly pushing the envelope and investing in new concepts, yet hope to partner with established players in the industry.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective (http://businesscollective.com), a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
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