Leadership for the Ages – Conclusion

Not admitting to the differences between generations will not make the differences go away. 

If you’re going to do more than just occupy a leadership position, if you’re going to actually lead, then you’ll have to understand and use those differences.

One of the challenges in writing a series like this is that in the interest of time you almost have to use some generalities in your writing. When I finally get around to writing my book on leadership I promise I’ll add more specific detail.

If it is true that each generation is different, and it is true, then it is also true that there are differences within each generation as well. So many differences in fact that I couldn’t list them all, even in a book.

As a leader it is incumbent upon you to know those differences in your people. The fact that they come from a particular generation can give you some idea as how to lead them but it is a picture  painted in shades of gray. To truly lead you must have a picture of your people painted in vivid color.

This is a picture not painted with a brush but with information. It requires information to truly know your people. To acquire the type of information needed for this picture you’ll have to talk WITH your people, not TO them. It will help immeasurably if you’ll listen too.

I frequently recommend to leaders that they periodically conduct innerviews with their people. No, I didn’t misspell that… I mean innerview, not interview. An interview  is something you do when hiring someone. An innerview is something you do when you really want to know them.   

It is maybe a five minute conversation about the person you’re innerviewing; it gives you the opportunity to discover what’s important to them, what motivates them, what their goals and objectives are. You’ll better understand their specific values and background. You’ll know how they want to be led and they will know that they and their ideas matter to you and their organization.

If you can invest 5 or 10 minutes a day to talk with the people of your organization, everyday, with all generations, you’ll lead more effectively than you ever thought possible.

The number one concern I hear from leaders when I share the “Innerview” concept is the time required to do it. 5 or 10 minutes a day, everyday. I’m amazed by the number of “leaders” who tell me they can’t afford the time. 


If you don’t have the time to invest in your people then you simply don’t have the time to lead. You may need to move out of the way and let a “Kid” take over. I’d rather have an experienced leader who truly leads than an experienced person who merely occupies a leadership position.

So, feel like leading today? Then go do an innerview.

2 thoughts on “Leadership for the Ages – Conclusion

  1. A Gen Y’r came to me with a problem she was facing. A very important one based on where she was in her life.

    I had a coaching convo with her where I, like all clients, asked lots of Who type questions. It’s called coaching the essence. Getting to their heart or side of the matter from the client’s perspective.

    She found the discussion empowering. I asked what she liked about it and she said it was I didn’t tell her what to do. Even though I’m a boomer and she’s Gen Y, she said “most people your age normally dominate the conversation and steer me in their direction.”

    Instead she said, “You had me dig deep for my own answers. I liked it!”

    Steve, if more leaders did “innerviews” and got to know the Who of their constitutents, their jobs would be so much easier. Plus, their followers would do more than the minimum in their roles.

    1. So true Steve, it’s nearly impossible to lead someone you don’t know. But I remained saddened and disappointed every time I hear a “leader” say they don’t have time to get to know their people.

      I guess they are too busy dealing with problems that wouldn’t be there if they knew their people…

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