I love working with younger leaders. It keeps me young and it helps to know I’m investing in something and someone who will likely last beyond my lifetime. I want to share some things I’ve learned from experience. Some of it hard experiences.
Here’s a random list of practical advice for young leaders.
If you can learn and practice these early in your career it will help you avoid having to learn them by experience.
Never attend a meeting without some way to take notes.
It helps you remember but it also communicates you care about what is being discussed. If you take notes on your electronic device (phone), be sure to tell people that’s what you are doing.
Respect your elders.
The fact is, you may not always feel respected by them, but that’s their fault, not yours. Showing respect to people older than you now will ensure you receive natural respect from others when you’re the elder in the relationship.
Learn all you can from everyone you meet.
This includes the awkward, even difficult people that you encounter. (You may actually learn more from them if you’re willing.)
Keep a resume handy and keep revising it.
You may never use a resume again in today’s work world, but the discipline of gathering your experience as you gain it forces you to think through your worth to a future employer. You’ll likely be asked to defend this someday and need to be prepared.
Never burn a bridge.
You’ll be surprised how many times relationships come back around. Don’t be caught by surprise.
Be an encourager in the organization.
Encouragers win the approval of others and are rewarded because they are liked. Be a genuinely positive influence on your team.
Never underestimate a connection.
When someone introduces you to someone, consider it a high compliment. Follow through on the opportunity to know someone new. You’ll be surprised how often these relationships will work for good.
Drop the defensiveness.
Young people often get defensive when a person with more experience shares something they do not yet know. This is especially true when being corrected by a leader. Remember you don’t know what you don’t yet know. It’s okay. Learn from your mistakes. Grow from your correction. Be patient with those who are trying to teach you. Get the chip off your shoulder and allow feedback to make you better. Over time you’ll win over those who see you as inexperienced.
There are 7 random suggestions. Elders, what other suggestions would you advise?