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Management and Leadership in Nonprofits

Management and Leadership in Nonprofits


Age and Wisdom in the Workplace

Aug 13, 2019
By: Tammy T. Jelinek

Age and Wisdom in the Workplace

We get requests to offer training and consulting on multiple generations working together in the workplace. Those requests cover the gamut from high-level communication to one-on-one consulting on helping a manager be a better coach. It seems to be increasing, and my guess is that with the transition of baby boomers retiring (or reducing hours) and Generation Z (now about 20 years old) entering the workplace, this trend will continue.

What does this have to do with age and wisdom? A lot!

Have you ever heard these sentences uttered in your office (or have you said them)?

  • They have only been here a short time. Why are they getting a promotion?
  • They don’t have any gray hair. How could they know enough to lead?
  • They have never had a job like this. How can they lead?
  • They are set in their ways. They won’t change!
  • They are too old/young/calm/high stressed/detailed oriented/change adverse/hyper…

…you get the picture.

We judge. We judge based on a lot of different factors, and we need to be careful. Judgements can save us — but they can just as easily sink us too.

Here is what I have learned in my career: Sometimes the newest person solves the longest-ongoing problem. Sometimes the oldest person gets the new technology the fastest. Sometimes age doesn’t matter — but attitude does matter!

A leader’s attitude needs to be “don’t judge too fast,” and the individual’s attitude needs to be “I want this task/role/responsibility.”

This is where wisdom comes into play. Each person in a work environment needs to have the wisdom to know when to allow others to learn, try, explore, answer, lead, etc. The bottom line? No matter the age, there is wisdom.

Wishing you a great day, and remember:  Lead with legacy.


Tammy Jelinek has over 20 years of experience in working in and with fabulous organizations. This blog will explore what it’s like for her to lead as a woman, a GenXer and a person who truly wants to lead with legacy — meaning she wants to walk her talk. Tammy has presented training nationally across the United States, built businesses, coached amazing people and built a career in the squiggliest path known to man…or in this case, woman. She has a passion for being curious, helping people and making actions happen.

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Tammy T. Jelinek, MBA
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