GUEST COMMENTARY: ‘Twilight’ leaders still have workplace skills to offer

Looking for talent seems to be top of everyone’s mind, leaving it to creative problem solving to address gaps in talent at all levels of the organization. Recently there seems to be a trend of Baby Boomers coming in and out of retirement.

At first glance many assumed that this was for economic reasons, however during recent interviews we are discovering anything but.

During a recent interview with “Bob,” we discussed the outlook for employment for a 60-something. He said that he just isn’t ready to be put out to pasture. His career, spanning over 40 years varied with time spent in a variety of industries, all unique to Alaska.

Along the way, like many Alaskans, his career path ebbed and flowed with the economy and with industry trends.

What he thought was the end of his career, included a retirement party and a warm send off from friends and colleagues. Just a few months later Bob found himself bored, and he is not alone.

In their twilight many executives leave their career subject matter experts within a particular discipline. Tired of the “same old grind” and ready for new adventures, they depart their career finding pleasure in the freedoms of retirement, yet not quite ready to retire their talents completely. Surprisingly, many retirees would rather be given an opportunity to leverage their talents and actually learn a new industry or acquire new skills and companies are better for it.

In Bob’s case, he is curious and interested in taking on interim leadership roles. His desire, like many of his peers, is not to consult or move out of retirement completely, but to provide a meaningful and necessary role that supports teams while they transition. In one effort, a retiree might be an “Interim COO” helping to keep operations on track while recruitment efforts are under way.

This allows for continuity while leveraging internal staff and ensuring they don’t take on more than they should. Ultimately not overtaxing a CEO or subordinate that would typically take on the role during a transition. The interim approach also offers a fresh and experienced perspective.

There is a large pool of able, workforce ready and proven leaders to help where needed. They are far beyond a box store greeter and willing to leverage their experience. Engaging these leaders is good for morale and good for business.

Paula Bradison is the CEO and President of Alaska Executive Search and Bradison Management Group LLC.

06/23/2021 - 11:05am