Life is cyclical isn’t it? As I begin to reach the end of my 30 year career as a conference planner, I’ve been spending time looking around at those coming up and proving their value in our profession.
You all know who they are: They are the young men and women who you see at industry events and think, ‘Wow, watch out for them!’ They are the ones who are encouraging the old guard (me!) to learn new things – to do it more efficiently, to think with a different mindset, to learn from them.
I spend a lot of time around those coming up in the industry. It is truly invigorating! I figured social media was social media until one young woman bills herself as a social media ambassador. A whole new language is emerging along with the emerging leaders – like ‘Facebooking’’, ‘texting’, ‘social media’, ‘apps’ and so much more.
While I don’t agree with it all, because I’m truly a face-to-face person, I can’t imagine a world without the new technology that has opened up so many doors in our profession. And my head spins as I try and keep up with it all!
It excites me to see the emerging leaders emerge. A while ago I was talking with a member of our profession who is retiring soon, and we were speaking about those coming onto the boards of our various professional associations. My colleague mentioned a name of a person who he bets will be president of one of the associations very soon. I concur and I realized, this person has been ‘emerging’ for quite some time. He was one of my students nine years ago! And now he is in a position of leadership.
So, in your own organizations, who do you see as an emerging leader? Don’t fear they will take your job. Instead embrace them. Any future leader I’ve had contact with is always open to taking in our wisdom and sharing their wisdom. How can you help them along the way? I’m not talking about a full mentorship here, I’m talking about a simple, let’s have coffee and talk about your future.
In closing, those of us with years of experience, open yourself up to emerging leaders – see what you can learn and see how you can help them become the leadership of tomorrow. You and your organizations will be the better for it.