"The most important lesson of Star Trek is that leadership should be a team effort." - William Shatner.
Star Trek sometimes misses the mark on this one, and in doing so it downplays the value older generations bring to the workplace by showing them as outcasts or people who can't adapt to change. It teaches us that diversity is valuable when it allows for different perspectives, but there are some types of diversity which are not valued such as generational diversity.
People from different generations offer so much to the workplace. They offer different perspectives, and they can provide leadership during times when we face the unexpected.
We need to be teaching the next generation how valuable diversity is, specifically generational diversity, in order to be open-minded and understanding that we all have something to contribute.
By including people that are older as part of the team, and actively recruiting them to join the team , they will bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that could make the difference between success and failure.
Misconceptions and untruths, like assuming they are overqualified and lacking in energy, are things which need to be addressed and rectified.
It is never too late to learn new skills or contribute something that you can offer from your years of experience. You have so much knowledge and wisdom which will benefit any team dynamic.
We need all types of diversity for a healthy workplace where people feel comfortable, included and welcome.
Star Trek often depicts people that are older as rigid and resistant to change; trying recapture their past glory and clinging to outdated values.
These depictions are damaging but they can be changed with leadership that understands the importance of incorporating different generations into a workplace.
One of my favorite methods to incorporate different generation in the workplace is to have a mentoring program.
Mentors provide guidance and advice on how to get the most out of their time, skillset and knowledge. People can learn from experience that people that are older are not always outdated or rigid - they may even be able to offer valuable insights about leadership positions in the future.
At the same time, people in older generations can learn from millennials and younger generations. For instance, they might not be as familiar with technology or social media. This can help them to feel valued and important in the workplace.
Leadership is what drives this change for a more productive workplace that brings together people from different generations.
The next generation of leaders should make it their goal to bring diversity into leadership positions and throughout the team so we can actively counter the misconceptions Star Trek sometimes leaves us with.