Veteran Project Managers Can Show Younger Ones a Thing or Two -- and Vice Versa

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Categories: Leadership

Young project managers are taking over senior management positions -- and some veteran project managers realize they're in for some changes, according to a recent article in PM Network® ("The Young and the Restless," October 2010).

The "younger generation bosses" act entitled or like they know everything, say some of the veterans. They also complained the new upstarts didn't earn their position, they micromanage, play favorites with younger workers and don't give enough direction to the veterans.

But the younger generation has plenty to offer, too. They generate a healthy mix of ideas and are usually more willing to try new ways of doing things that some veterans might consider too risky.

At the same time, seasoned pros can show young project managers a few of their own tricks. What's the game about if not about leaving the best of yourself in the hands of the younger generation?

Imagine the power of teams that emerge from this kind of cooperation and collaboration!

Both seasoned veterans and their younger counterparts can learn from each other. It's good for the organization, the project -- and your own development as a project professional.

Have you looked outside your own generation for advice? What did you learn?

Posted by Dmitri Ivanenko PMP ITIL on: January 05, 2011 03:28 PM | Permalink

Comments (3)

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Brent Senette
I think the title says it all and speaks to the wisdom of both sides in embracing the "changing of the guard." While realizing that there will be challenges, likewise realizing that the benefits to be gleaned from free exchange of ideas across the generational gap can do nothing but improve a team, a project, an organization, or a company.

I've seen the younger generation benefit from learning people & leadership skills from more experienced project managers and leaders. At the same time I've seen my generation take away from them the realization that work life balance is not a bad thing.

I've seen the younger generation enthusiastically pursue formal project management training and certifications at my suggestion, while learning from them that you can teach an "old dog" new tricks in regards to more up to date approaches to real time communication (e.g. texting) with team mates and friends.

I think the younger generation has learned from me and my generation the importance of "keeping your cool" and exhibiting emotional intelligence in a project world where tensions and emotions most always run high. At the same time I've learned from them that there's no reason for me to worry about the next generation of project managers and leaders and that they (the younger generation) will just take up where we left off and be just fine in doing it!

Vanessa Parkeren Schiphol
Consider myself one of the younger ones. Always is difficult to challenge your older teammates, but the situation has to be created where both parties get the best out of each other. Quality of work is very important, young or old.

Rakesh Ranjan
To be on the younger side, we should take the "Emotional Intelligence" and "Keeping cool in tough situations" from the veterans and we should add the "Out-Of-Box thinking" and "Innovation at work" to the some of the veterans buckets.

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