Porntip Kanjananiyot and Chotima Chaitiamwong, Fulbright Thailand
Everyone is a leader!
We all are today’s leaders and mentors of tomorrow’s leaders. There is, however, a gap between two generations of leaders - the Traditionalists, the Baby Boomers, and the Gen X’ers on one side and the Millennials or the Digital Generation on the other. Different conditions, requirements, and mentality, if inappropriately managed, could turn the generation gap into a black hole. Bridges must be made from both sides not just for their peaceful coexistence but for their most constructive and harmonious partnership.
At the baseline, leaders must be able to ‘see through’ strengths and weaknesses of different generations, and to ‘compromise’ for the better, if not the best. These abilities could be developed regardless of age and title. We just need to open our eyes, mind, and heart. Without pre-conditioned views, we could then be able to ‘link’ and learn’ from anyone and anything around us to extract common ‘cross-generation values’, for combined strengths across generations.
Ability to ‘link’ helps leaders network, through physical or digital presence, for comparative advantage as individuals and organizations. Networking is a mechanism for expanding one’s resources and increase capabilities particularly in managing complexity. Linking digitally exposes leaders far better to the world of the younger while heightening their own imagination, creativity and possible innovation.
To benefit from the links, leaders must the urge to learn, considering everything as a lesson from successes and failures to differences and similarities. The world, from this angle, is not only a stage of peoples from all walks of life in their various roles, but it is also a huge classroom with many free lessons, be they cross-cultural or cross-generation, some of which will turn to be ‘acceptable standard practice’ they need to follow.
Trendy leaders will move on with the world with updated knowledge, skills, and networks. They will be successful professionally to introduce formula to fight ‘anti-age and anti-technology’ syndromes so leaders will be able to cope with new/existing and unpredicted challenges/demands in the world all increasingly find harder to understand.
How could we nurture a community of leaders with thirsts to link, thrills to learn? All generations need to care and dare enough to insert them into another different world of analog or digital to extract the rich essence and experiences, which will turn to be the best formula for quality leadership.
With support from right skills and right capabilities based on leaders’ learning to have realistic understanding and take practical actions, trendy leaders will be able to ‘link’ with the right sources, and ‘learn’ with fun from things around them. All the leaders from educators, lecturers to parents and students alike, then will be able to nurture sustainable growth and development of their own selves and organizations.
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