Daniel A. Chintersingh
PAD515007VA016-1128-001 Leadership and Conflict Resolution
Professor: Dr Mark PANTALEO
October 28, 2012
Leadership is ultimately a social development process. There is a perception that being a young leader can lead to exuberances if temptations and peer pressure is not resisted, and that young public leaders face serious administrative and political challenges. This perception is viewed as a social acceptable norm in the society in which we live. Evident of this is in our constitution which states clearly in Article II, Section 1 “…neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen years a Resident within the United States”. The US Constitution was drafted over a hundred years ago and does articulate a bias towards youth when it comes to being responsible and experienced enough to hold the office of the president. To mitigate this perceived deficit, the White House has a system in place to assist with the development. According to information posted on its website “The White House Internship Program provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and build leadership skills. This hands-on program is designed to mentor and cultivate today’s young leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office and prepare them for future public service opportunities.” Such a system makes good sense as some young public leaders in other countries have demonstrated that their lack of experience in dealing with public bodies and their inability to join ‘clouts’ or build important relationships with other people or agencies have shaped the public view of them being less effective. This paper supports the view that young public leaders are usually less effective because they have so little experience. However, the situation is changing. The proliferation on the internet has provided the young leaders with a repository of useful information; however with this advantage comes greater challenges. An overload of information exits and he/she needs to put this information into perspective. This can only be achieved throughout job tenure. As the young leader graduates from college, he /she is rearing to go and seek the opportunity to test what they have been taught. They quickly find that information they learned in college is contrary to or is outdated when compared to what they obtain in real life. Also, that there are unofficial ways and social norms in which things are accomplished. With age comes maturity and fortification to deal swiftly with challenges. Being a young leader brings new ideas to the bargaining table especially in areas of information technology. It does however bring certain management risks that may be due to inexperience. Several challenges are presented to young public leaders. They run the risk of being ostracized by their peers for non-conformity. Young leaders may not be susceptible to status quo or group thinking, and may present challenges to upper management as these young people may go off on tangents that opposes management strategic direction. Young public leaders in their quest to ‘belong ‘to certain interest group’ run the risk of compromising their integrity in order to become a part of any special group or may behave in a disorderly manner that is not conducive of a good public servant. Though young people are able to research past events, personalities and situations, they are unlikely to make quick decisions due to lack of expertise and ignorance of company history, unwritten rules and past problems. It takes time to build relationship and good relationships can only be developed over time- usually several years. The recent graduate may not feel comfortable at a function where senior people gather to discuss historical events that shaped the company and economy. As of such, they may feel left out...