5 Lessons From Leading 20-Somethings
I never thought I'd turn 30. I started my working career bungee jumping and tour guiding. I never made life plans beyond 30 because I honestly didn’t think I’d get here.
I also never thought that 30 was that old, until the day I made a reference to Yogi Bear and a 20-something student I was working with said “Huh?” The more I explained, the less comprehension I got.
So before I get too far removed from my 20’s, here's five lessons I’ve learned from leading 20-somethings for the past decade.
20-Somethings want to be invited to be part of the grander scheme. They want to know that you want them there. Invite the 20’s you’re surrounded by into your life – show them what it’s really like to just be you, at home on a Saturday, out on a trip, or in those meetings you go to so frequently. Invite into a Community too. Call the 20-somethings to join you and your partners – make them part of the team.
2. STICK TO YOUR COMMITMENTS:
You made a commitment to do something, to show up at a certain time, to be available, to communicate when things are going good, and when they’re going bad. Guess what? It’s incredibly important to 20-somethings that you stick to your Commitment. Show up. Be vulnerable. Have an open door. Do whatever it was you said you’d do.
Hold the 20-somethings you work with to the commitments they made too. They might not love it at the time – they might want to move on to that ‘next great and exciting adventure.’ Trust me, as you hold them to their commitments, and are dependable to yours, they will respect you all the more.
3. WORK ALONGSIDE THEM:
Nothing can replace the dirt under your nails, the joy on your face, or the frustration in your voice. These things are the hallmarks of genuine reality. Work alongside 20-somethings – be there with them in everything you’re leading them through. When you have to make the tough calls, they’ll be there to observe and learn.
4. CHARACTER IS IMPORTANT:
Your character matters, but you already knew that. Did you know that your character might be the difference between sulking submission or inspiring a fanatical following? Or that your character might be the tipping point between giving up or pushing on when things get hard? People are willing to follow good character.
The character of the people you’re leading matters too. They’ve read books talking about how they need to show up, step up and grow up. 20-somethings are trying hard to develop their character. Help them out – Tell them what you see specifically. Call out the good.
This generation of 20-somethings might be the most incredible generation of 20-somethings there has ever been. They have more opportunities, more resources, and more potential. Believe in the 20-somethings you lead. Believe that their potential is only just beginning to be tapped. Believe in them to do the impossible. Believe in them to change the world.
They struggle with doubt, and fear of failure, and insecurity. When 20-somethings passionately tell you how they’re going to change the world – Celebrate with them and propel them forward. Believe in the potential within 20-somethings entrusted to your leadership.