Don’t be stubborn, learn to yield. Never think that you know everything, never imagine that your way of doing things is the only way. Consciously yielding to others can make your business grow.

I have two important examples of yielding to share with you. One is an example of why it’s sometimes good to let the more experienced individual lead in a business situation, and the other is an example of why we sometimes need to get out of the way and let the younger generation step in and lead. And I bet you will be surprised which is which!

A 25-year-old entrepreneur I know is going to disrupt the entire healthcare industry. He is a brilliant, articulate, and good-looking guy who is on fire with his new business, and getting a great response from an old stale industry. He asked me if I would meet with him and one of his new hires. When we got together, “Mike,” the new hire, introduced himself and began the meeting, but he just didn’t have the presence or passion of my young entrepreneurial friend. Mike was probably 15 years older and was a seasoned pro in the very industry that is being disrupted.

What really surprised me at first was the fact that the young entrepreneur yielded totally to Mike. In fact, he barely said a peep in 45 minutes. Actually, Mike was kind of boring me, but I totally understood and respected the young entrepreneur’s realization that to help his business move forward he needed someone more senior that would not appear as disruptive. Yielding to his more experienced new hire for the meeting was a brilliant strategy and I thought, “BRAVO!” Knowing when to yield is a talent that many of us don’t consciously think about on a daily basis, but it is a great way to highlight experience and use it as a way to engage with others.

Later in the week, I received an update from a colleague of mine who I had recently helped secure a CEO position at a particular company. His work centered on the blockbuster launch campaign of a new product. My CEO friend was one of the most inspired marketers of his day but he is much older now. When I reviewed the materials he sent asking for my input, I felt totally deflated because this seemed like old stuff that was just dusted off. In fact, the positioning was at least 10 years old––nothing was new.

As I thought about it, I realized this guy isn’t yielding to the youth and creativity around him, and that s exactly what he needs to do. He should yield to the younger generation and use his own experience to enhance, not lead with rusty old material.

As often happens when I have these types of insights, I thought of myself and about yielding to the folks that I work with. I immediately started using what I call the “yield tool.” It was an absolute confidence builder. I realized I need to think along the line of: “Hey, Jason (a young sales person) you go to that trade show. You are much better at working a room than I am.” Or, “Sara, (a young analyst) why don’t you take the lead on the call tomorrow? You have been studying the platform more than anyone else.” I like surrounding myself with smart young people that can take the lead and that I can yield to because my ideas, like those of other colleagues my age, are probably tired and stale. (Notice I said “probably.” Can’t help it! lol.)

Using the yield tool will empower everyone on your team––those directly impacted and the people that watch the impact. It will make you feel empowered and good, too, when you see how yielding helps your team work more smoothly.

Below are a few suggestions to help you learn the power of yielding:

4 Ways To Effectively Yield

  1. Listen more. Assess the situation and determine when you should move aside for a younger voice or if you should let someone with experience take the lead.
  2. Don’t be afraid to come forward and share your ideas, whether you are young or old. Give the leadership at your company the opportunity to move aside and let you take your shot.
  3. Have confidence in yourself. Believe you are capable of taking something to the next level.
  4. Recognize when it’s your turn to step aside and let someone else have their shot.

Yielding is something we all need to practice doing every day. If you learn to yield, your energy and confidence will soar, and you will find that you can lead when your opportunity arises. Soon, everyone will yield to you. Yep! Seen it many times.

Onward and upward—