Updated: Feb 10
AGEISM | INCLUSIVE LEADERSHIP | CHANGE MANAGEMENT
Hannah Cotton and Richard O’Neill explore how leaders must ensure intergenerational workforces pool experiences to create innovative and empowering ways forward.
Ageism is a problem in the arts, media and increasingly in business. Albeit an age old problem, this is not confined to older people. Covid has raised many ways in which today’s policies impact the youngest the most and we must be careful not to allow our prejudices and preconceived notions of ‘other’ to become risks to our business, or missed opportunities of diversity.
As always, labels can be divisive if individuals don’t understand how they impact their agency or teamwork. Negative connotations associated with ageism include;
Snowflakes melt. They’re woke. They would rather complain and blame than act on frustrations. They act with entitlement, not agency.
Dinosaurs died. They failed to evolve. They are unable to flex with change. They act with authority for a bygone era and struggle to recognise the value of new ideas.
So there is anger from young people; promised careers following good education, finding only huge debts, often over qualified and without employment.
And there is anger from older people; promised good pensions and healthcare for a lifetime of taxes.
This division is symptomatic of damaging stereotypes, creating divisions that creep into homes, communities and workforces.
The Operational Case for Inclusion
Watch out, or your labels could risk financial, legal and reputational loss. Labeling younger team members as “whippersnappers” or being “wet behind the ears” risks legal action and treating them with less respect of other employees will also be viewed as direct age discrimination.
Equally, not recruiting the best candidate because they did not fit the carbon copy of their predecessor is crucial. “Not a cultural fit” indicates inflexibility of the team in place, not the individual who brings the most value -even if that happens to be an older, white, male.
One of the subjects that we've chatted with people the most over the past year has been the opportunities multigenerational workforces can embrace.
Richard says “We've heard all the negative stuff about Millennials - the snowflake jibes etc, which in my experience of working with a huge amount of Millennials just isn't true. Rather, these people are quite the opposite - hardworking, driven, intelligent and desperate to make the world of work a better place. The same can be said about older people - of which I'm one. We aren't slow, stuck in the past, unfit or technophobes as we’re often portrayed.’
Hannah says “Overcoming prejudices, learning to appreciate other’s strengths, knowledge and motivations has always been something managers have had to do, but with up to four different generations in one workforce and the media’s portrayal of negative stereotypes creates further division. The challenges are much greater, but these are all ways we at EquALLIES can help with.
Engage > Educate > Empower
The EquALLIES model practices what is preachers; drawing from a diverse pool to teach how to lead yourself - and others - inclusively. We Engage > Educate > Empower our clients to understand the way we view ourselves and others can liberate or limit our productivity. We go beyond the protected characteristics to include 100% of your workforce in order to understand their unique strengths and recognise them in others.
Our Inclusive Leadership model embraces continuous process improvement, akin to the Nomadic way of productive circular working. The human focused philosophy draws from thousands of years of having and wanting and having to utilise the talents and skills of everyone in the group. Unless everyone wins/gets their needs met, then no one does.
Richard says ‘working together is the only true way to achieve success for everyone.’
So by recognising the individual’s unique differences, whatever their age, gender, race, sexuality, character, religion, education, character, EquALLIES empowers individuals and organisations alike to recognise their value.
We will teach you to learn to lead with diverse strengths and evolve to excel and avoid extinction.
We look forward to supporting your journey of evolution. www.equALLIES.com