How to share your wisdom with the next generation – Pick Dave’s Brain

This week’s question comes from Richard in New South Wales, Australia:

Q: Hi, Dave! I started my company over thirty years ago and I’m still going to work every day. Most are young people in the office.

My question is, what is the most effective way to communicate my knowledge and experience with them as a seventy-year-old?

Click to tweet this: Geniuses are charitable listeners. Show you care and people will notice how much you know. @DaveCrenshaw

Video transcript:

Would you make a good grandparent?

This week’s question comes from Richard in New South Wales, Australia:

Hi, Dave! I started my company over thirty years ago and I’m still going to work every day. Most are young people in the office.

My question, is what is the most effective way to communicate my knowledge and experience with them as a seventy-year-old?

Dave:

Thanks for reaching out to me from Australia, Richard. It’s so exciting to see that you’re still learning at the young age of seventy.

This is a powerful question. It can offer great insight for all of us, really. There are three things that I suggest you do to help those who are younger, or really any one that you manage become more engaged in the process of learning.

First, seek to build leaders. I call this the “Grandpa Principle”. Many people think that their test as a parent or even a manager is to lead people well. However, I believe the greater test is how well you convert those you lead into leaders. In other words, it’s not how your “children” turn-out but it’s how your “grandchildren” turn-out that is the true test of leadership.

Place emphasis on how you can empower those that you lead to become leaders themselves. At some point, the new generation is going to need to take over. Are they, themselves, prepared to lead and to create leaders?

Second, focus on listening. When we have knowledge about a subject we’re tempted to just share it and move on. We spill forth all of our knowledge and hope that someone’s going to learn it.

However, there’s an old adage that says “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” This is especially true when we’re leading others. And the best way to show people that we care about them is to listen to them. Get their insight, their perspective. Take it in. Give them an opportunity to share everything that they have to share. And then they will be more open to listening to you when the time is right.

Third, I encourage you to ask questions rather than make statements. Let me give you an example. Let’s say that something goes wrong in the office. Someone that you lead makes a mistake. The temptation is to say “This happened because X, Y and Z.”

Instead, ask the question “Why do you think this happened?” This causes them to grow in their critical thinking skills. And they begin to become open to learning themselves. The more you can ask questions, like the wise masters that you see in kung-fu movies, the more people will learn. Use questions, not statements.

Thanks for the wonderful question that you asked me, Richard.

If you have a question that you’d like me to answer, all you need to do is go to davecrenshaw.com/ask. And I’ll be ready and waiting to answer your wonderful question.


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