(Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)
An Ohio-based Christian organization aims to bridge the gap that divides older folks from their much younger colleagues in the workplace with a new program designed to eliminate misconceptions between the two generations while providing career mentorship.
Rather than focus on traditional leadership development, organizers for The Emerging Leaders Initiative say their goal is to spotlight personal development and address the intangible needs of young leaders.
"We want to create something new that addresses younger generations in ways that are relevant and do it in a way that is biblically based, inclusive and transformational," Shannon Lee, associate director for the program, told The Christian Post.
The program, set to launch next year by Gathering Columbus, a company that addresses the moral, ethical, spiritual and leadership development needs of business in Ohio, hopes to bridge the gap between both generations in various ways.
The initiative will involve older workplace guides who will mentor younger participants in an ongoing basis. They will be available throughout the overall learning process, which Lee believes will provide for opportunities of organic mentorship, versus forced interaction. Furthermore, she hopes this will also facilitate reverse mentorship.
"We recognize that there are biases and misconceptions on the part of Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers toward the other generations," said Lee. "The bias and misconceptions will be addressed by focusing on time-tested truths of leadership whereby participants will discover the commonality of those truths throughout the generations and regardless of age."
Once fully implemented, The Emerging Leaders Initiative will also consist of small groups meeting regularly in their respective communities, service opportunities and professional growth programs of leadership and character development.
Lee says they seek to include individuals from the business, government, media, arts and entertainment, and education sectors within the Columbus area.
"Because we are focusing on the core of leadership, rather than leadership skills, any person, in any type of work will find applicable content in this program," Lee explained.
Two months ago, the program did not exist, explains Lee. The idea was born out of a discovered need to engage younger generations within the community.
While there are many programs in Columbus that cater to young professionals' need for social interaction and social change as well as civic involvement, Lee says their program differs in that they aim to "tap into the very heart of what drives leaders to lead."
The Gathering Columbus was founded by Harvey Hook, author and speaker, 25 years ago. Since then, the organization has developed a rich network of caring community leaders who aim to impact the business community in a positive way for the Kingdom of God, which Lee says "will remain unchanged" even as they implement The Emerging Leaders Initiative.