Crossing The Line-Leading Old Part 2

A while back I posted something on leading old.  I have had a little more time to reflect on this topic-so here is round two.

One of the things I have noticed about older leaders  is that there will come a day when the majority of the people they report to or work with are younger than them. It is inevitable.  Depending on your field that day may come sooner-but sooner or later it will come.  How will you respond?  Will you be unable to submit to someone else’s authority that is younger and less experienced than you?  Will you only relate to that person as your junior and constantly, but subtly, talk down to them?  Will you determine to be right because of your vast experience and forfeit your platform for learning?

I have said before that a leader’s longevity will depend on their humility.  One strong expression of that is your ability to treat younger, less experienced bosses and co-workers as equals.  See them as a source of fresh input and learning-not just as someone to mentor.

Someone that modeled this for me was John Donaldson.  John was a man 30 years my elder that I met when I was just starting out in the ministry.  He was a leader in a key church whose sponsorship I needed.  Yet he never treated me as a novice-which I certainly was.  He constantly asked me questions-not probing ones waiting for an opportunity to spout experiential wisdom-but genuine questions that demonstrated true curiosity and a hunger for learning.  He went out of his way to introduce me to other leaders.  He created platforms for me so that I could communicate my vision and ministry.  I wish I would have had more foresight back then to drain him for all that he knew about life and ministry-it would have been a wealth of knowledge.  But I was too young to know the treasure I had in front of me.  John treated me as fellow sojourner-a valuable “peer”.  He gave me lift-not drag.  He crossed a line-an age line-a good line that allowed him to be a humble example of leading along side-not just from above or from a sense of codified experience that could not be questioned.

I hope I can be that for someone too.  May we learn to “cross the line” graciously and willingly.  It will sustain your leadership life.

5 responses to “Crossing The Line-Leading Old Part 2

  1. Great post, Gary. You are an incredible leader who models humility so well. I also thought of Shannon Compere when I read this—she modeled this type of leadership for me. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us–I enjoy learning from your blogs.

  2. Thanks, Gary! What a wonderful post! PLease tell Carrie hello for all of us!
    Tristie an Brian Fisher and kids

    • Tristie-great to hear from you. Thanks for the comments. Hope you guys are doing well-I hear great things about the church through the grapevine-I will definitely pass along greetings to Carrie-tell Brian hi too!

  3. Good thoughts my friend! I’ve not explored that area much, though I surely need to since everyone I report to is younger than me (not sure about the new guy since I’ve not met him, but I assume he is younger than me).

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