Seniors have a very useful and very obvious advantage that younger generations do not: life experience.
Therefore, communities highly benefit from seniors who proactively take up leadership positions in a wide variety of social and political capacities.
Two barriers might come to mind during times like this: “I’m too old, so what could I possibly provide to my community as a leader?” and “Given this year’s circumstances, I’m stuck at home. How can I be a good leader if I’m sheltering in place?”
In this article, we will provide you with some tips and starting points on how seniors can effectively engage in leadership positions despite these roadblocks:
• Refresh and gain those computer skills: These days, it’s extremely beneficial to hone in on a digital skill-set, especially if you are sheltering in place.
Much of your communication with others can be done by phone call, but having knowledge of social media, video-chat, and email can put you way ahead of the game.
If you plan on taking up a leadership position that requires you to guide a large group of people, then internet communications can speed up the process (i.e. sending out announcements for meetings, activities, and community functions).
• List out your passions: Take a step back and think about what areas of interest or causes you are highly passionate about (or would like to develop a passion for). Are there certain topics that get you stirred up for action?
This could include unresolved issues within your own community (ADA regulations for your town’s sidewalks, supporting local businesses, etc.) or issues that impact others on a wide-scale national level (i.e. abortion, human trafficking, healthcare insurance access, etc.).
• Research community functions that are in need of leadership: Make some calls, look through the classifieds, and talk to your neighbors and friends about vacant leadership positions in your community (i.e. volunteer groups like churches and rotary club, city council, etc.).
If you don’t want to go for the gusto immediately, start with committees and council groups where you can work your way up the ladder.
• Recruit some friends for campaigning if necessary: If you are seeking to fill a political position (i.e. city council, mayor, school administration, etc.), start making friends and create campaign committees.
Research how other candidates have successfully run for these positions in the past.
• Keep up your consistent commitment: Once you commit to a leadership position, keep it up. Of course, life circumstances happen such as health and family-related interruptions.
However, your community will be more receptive to you and your skills if you show a consistent commitment to them and to your job-related duties.
Aging and sheltering in place do not have to keep you from being active in your community. Sure, younger folks can take up leadership positions and probably do very well. However, do not discount what you can offer based off of what life has taught you that younger individuals have not even been exposed to yet.