Aging And Role Reversal

Being a leader may or may not be a choice. If it is a choice, choosing to be a leader means taking on responsibility for the lives and certainly the behavior of those you would lead. Being a parent is an excellent example. To choose to be a parent means undertaking a lifetime journey initially loaded with responsibility. Then, as aging occurs, The roles reverse, and the parent becomes the recipient of power.  

Yes, children grow into adults, and the parents become more childlike. This transition is rarely a fluid one. At some point in the growing and changing process, the likelihood of conflict between parents and children increases. Power and influence are wrapped into our relationships with our children, yet they transform over time. What was clearly the parent’s leadership role in relation to the child’s role as follower disappears. It may be sudden or slow, but the transfer of power and influence is inevitable.

This is true in our families and homes but not at work, where most people are pawns in the pyramid we call “our jobs.” Leaders employ us, teachers teach us, military leaders lead us, and political powers rule us. But at home, power and influence change as we age. 

During this change of roles, preparation is called for, as is dialogue on the subject and not avoidance. Aging is an “in your face” reality. If we live long enough, this will become an issue for those who must reverse their roles. The sooner this subject is breached and understood, the better it is for all involved.

I am your leader—You will become mine, in time-—Do we understand?


Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

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