“Just because you are older, doesn’t mean you deserve respect. Respect is earned and not given.” I stumbled upon these words of wisdom few days back. Words so powerful such as these, kept on ringing in my mind that I decided to weave a story around it.
Those were the days when confronting the elders in the family were not considered to be so courteous. You simply cannot talk back to them even if you are convinced they are on the wrong. Having drawn up the courage of doing so, you end up being the outcast for the next few weeks within the family. In majority of the situations youngsters were asked to stay out whenever serious discussions were underway between the elders within the family. In that scenario how would you have your concerns be heard and make the decision making process all inclusive? A youngster always remained a youngster and the rules of engagement remained unchanged even when he or she is fully grown up while facing any important decision at a later stage of life. When I looked around in my neighborhood during those days the situation was somewhat similar among my age group. You don’t wish to be the conflict or be part of a conflict, so be silent and sulk.
Is this what we call “the generation gap”? The social norms are changing and we need to continually keep pace with them. Confrontation does not necessarily mean lack of love and bonding, but on the contrary it is just the opposite.
I feel we should encourage our younger generation to participate in the decision making process within the family. We should allow them to contribute with their own point of view and life experiences. Our fundamental approach should be that of a “neglected supervision”. The essence here is to step aside and let the youngsters go with their own decisions from a very early age. By allowing them to make mistakes and learning from them, they grow up as mentally tougher human beings. They will have more confidence in their own conviction and be fearless and courageous whenever they face their own share of life challenges.
In a work environment we speak about different approaches of Leadership. The idea of “leadership and management” is often misunderstood by most of us whenever we are in a position of power. We take it for granted that we will be respected just because we are in a leadership position. It is often “your way or the highway”. We impose our own views by drawing the lines and expect the others to follow. But in reality does it work?
I do agree that certain situations warrant us to be firm in order to get a job done but generally we should strive to get the buy in. Getting the “buy in” is a tough ask. But once done, it creates a win-win for all. It is half the battle won. Here you are confronted with an individual who agrees with you and understands your rationale. He or she stands a better chance to willfully complete the task and be willing to be part of your team in the future as well. On the contrary, you may force someone to accomplish a task who is unwilling to do so till that point of time. He or she may eventually do it but may not be willing to be part of your team in the future. So in a short term you may win but in the longer term you end up losing the battle.
The choice is ours. We need to create an environment of “agree to disagree”. This is vital to a thriving team approach. This approach is applicable irrespective of whether it is within the family environment or in a work setup. The rules of engagement are universal.