How does age affect Leadership?
Age can affect Leadership in a variety of ways, both positive and negative and this short article covers some & not all of the ups and downs that age provides
It is certainly not a reason to not give a younger person a chance (& I read & am intentional with the double negative) OR keep someone because they are older or have been in a position or company for years
And everything will have its pros and cons please remember that everything is in balance ultimately
Some possible ways that age can affect Leadership include:
- Experience: As people age, they typically gain more experience in their field of work and in life in general, which can make them better leaders. An older leader may have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they can draw upon to make better decisions and solve problems more effectively.
- Maturity: With age comes greater maturity and perspective, which can be valuable assets for a leader. An older leader may be better able to keep their emotions in check and make level-headed decisions in times of stress or crisis.
- Stability: older leader will have more stable life and experience, which can be important for leading a team or organisation through difficult times.
- Energy and flexibility: On the other hand, age can also bring physical and cognitive declines, which may affect a leader’s ability to keep up with the demands of the job, as well as with technological changes, new ideas.
- Length of Service: Provides the history of an organisation that is not always written down and can provide immeasurable knowledge of what happened when and how which can prove vital
It’s worth noting that age is not the only factor that determines a person’s effectiveness as a leader, and that older leaders can continue to be effective if they stay active and engaged, continue to learn new things, and are open to new ideas and perspectives and are willing to change
What are the pros and cons of experience?
A comment I was party to many years ago was ‘have you 20 years’ experience or 1 years’ experience repeated 20 times’ it is a valuable lesson to take on board for anyone that thinks years make them better at something than others – they can do for sure and not necessarily!
Experience can be a valuable asset for a person in any field, including leadership. Some potential pros of experience include:
- Knowledge: With experience comes knowledge of the industry, the job, and the organisation. This can be useful for making informed decisions and solving problems effectively.
- Wisdom: Experience can help a person develop wisdom, or the ability to make good judgments and decisions based on a deep understanding of a situation.
- Confidence: When a person has experience, they may feel more confident in their abilities and be less likely to doubt themselves or second-guess their decisions.
- Mentorship: An experienced person may be able to mentor and guide others in their field, passing on their knowledge and wisdom to the next generation.
However, experience can also have some downsides, such as:
- Rigidity: With experience comes the risk of becoming entrenched in one’s ways and being resistant to change. This can make it difficult for an experienced leader to adapt to new technologies, new ideas, or changing market conditions.
- Overconfidence: With experience, some people may become overconfident in their abilities, which can lead to poor decision making.
- Bias: Experienced people may develop a bias towards certain methods or ways of doing things, and may not be open to new ideas or perspectives. ‘that’s not how we do it round here’
- Inflexibility: The experience may make them less agile, more cautious and less willing to take risks. ‘we tried that before & it didn’t work’
It is important to balance experience with other factors, such as creativity, flexibility, and openness to new ideas and perspectives, to be an effective leader.