Today I celebrate my birthday, I crossed 50!!! I am resisting growing responsibilities, anxieties, immobility, tiredness, wrinkles, and taboos. I am afraid of being old fashion, stubborn, fat, and losing my ability to learn and be creative.
I panic, thinking I am not going to be the leader I always look up to.
but does age really affect leadership?
The Short answer is. No. Agee does not affect leadership.
Don’t get me wrong age does play a role in leadership effectiveness, but not in the way you and I were thinking. There are some things that come with age that can improve leadership skills.
I searched for some of the most powerful leaders and found out that the best years as a leader should be somewhere between 45 and 75. Maybe even longer. Naguib Sawiris, now 68 has been contributing to the world of telecommunication as a leader, Samih his younger brother is age 65 now, founded Orascom Hotels and Development when he was 39 and stepped down for his successor son in December 2021 at the age of 64. Rana El Kaliouby was named by Forbes to their list of America’s Top 50 Women in Tech, and Fortune included her in their list of 40 under 40 and was chosen by the World Economic Forum to be a Young Global Leader. And how can I write an article about leaders and not mention Anne Mulcahy The Wall Street Journal named Mulcahy one of 50 women to watch in 2005 and Forbes magazine ranked her at the sixth position among the Most Powerful Women in America in 2005. In 2009, she was ranked 15th. In 2008, she was selected by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders. Ann is now 70 years young.
First of all, let me state the obvious. There is no “perfect” age to be a great leader, age is just a number! Right?
So how can it affect being a good leader or not, and with me, aging am I losing my leadership skill? I can’t pinpoint the age at which one will perform best. In the previous paragraph, I gave examples of great leaders, no matter their age.
The older you get, the more life experience you gain, which is invaluable for leadership. You learn human skills, how to deal with people, how to spot the right people, what is important, how to handle conflict, how to prioritize, and how to perform under pressure. It is the luxury of being there before, the benefits of past falls and maybe failures, and the perspective of being in other’s shoes as you have been there yourself in the past. The valuable insight into what works and what doesn’t. This knowledge will benefit you as a leader and help build trust with others especially if you as a leader blend the experience with dedication, commitment, and resilience.
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