Remember what is was like in your twenties, when you first entered the workplace. Everything was new and exciting. You went boldly into the world, with that naïve confidence, enabling you to push forward and jump right in. Sure you made mistakes, some horrific, but you had that resilience to pick yourself back up and try again. You knew you were talented and you weren’t afraid to use those skills. If only you could go back and share your wisdom with that twenty something self.
That, of course, is a gift we can’t give ourselves, but it is something we can pay forward to the new generation of talent that is rising through your business right now. You see, we may have been brought up in different generation, but we aren’t that different. Your parents’ generation probably looked at you and thought you were a naïve, uber confident, inexperienced puppy dog too at times.
Depending on the era you entered the workplace, you may very well have experienced the “Dog eat dog world”, “Trust no-one”, “Command and control” mentality. Hopefully now you know that there is another way, a better way, to develop and nurture talent for the future.
How to pay it forward
Be patient. Remember that you have lived and worked for many more years than these ambitious new wave of employees. You have learned so much in that time, made a few mistakes along the way, and used those lessons to become even more skillful. This new talent pool will learn to, but be patient. They aren’t you, and they never will be. Just allow them the time to flourish.
Be kind. If you see an area of development, rather than see it as a weakness, treasure it as an opportunity to be kind. Share your experience, or create an opportunity to your talent to develop. Be kind in your approach and know that they may fail, but from that place they will learn and grow.
Be nurturing. Just like a little acorn, who has the potential to grow into a powerful strong oak, your talent needs nurturing. Encourage them. Let them face a few storms, but in the safety that you will be there for them to recover and build resilience.
Be empowering. Help them to believe in themselves. We all face fear, and when you spot it in your people, don’t pounce. Fear is not a weakness unless we allow it to keep us stuck. Empower your people to take risks, be bold and try new things, and believe in them. Sometimes they need you to believe in them because behind the confidence of youth, they may not believe in themselves.
Be trusting. Keep your word, be consistent but above all be honest. If you role model trust, in yourself and in others, then it gives others permission to trust too. Lead from a place of trust rather than fear or blame and you will see everyone around you, and your business, grow and perform.
Be generous. Give your experience, your time, your wisdom and yourself generously. Why hold back when you can help someone. Holding back is based on fear. Keep yourself in check. We stand on the shoulders of giants. Be a giant and lift others, and give them the short cuts to success through your wisdom.
Be humble. Or in other words keep your ego in check. Being a great leader is knowing that you don’t know all of the answers, or you don’t have all the skills. Do your bit then get out of the way so others can succeed and innovate. You are simply part of the team, and your role is to lead your people, know when to step aside and let the team do what they do best.
Be wise. Step back, observe, reflect and be wise. The time for you to be constantly in action, proving yourself and delivering is over. You have done your time, learned the lessons and now you lead. Whilst everyone else is trying to get ahead, remember you are ahead, and give your wisdom as a way of paying it forward.
Be inspiring. OK now you can show off a little. Inspire these guys to be more than they are right now. Inspire them to learn, develop, grow. Inspire them to be better than you, and to achieve. Inspire them with your vision, your wisdom and your behaviour. Share your story, share yourself, and this will inspire others.
Be authentic. If you can be real, true and live authentically then you can pay it forward to others. You can role model this “other way” of being in the workplace. You can end the politics, fear, blame and judgement by role modelling authenticity right now. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give the next generation.
To develop yourself as a pay it forward leader, contact us to see how we can support you.