In learning you will teach and in teaching you will learn. My foray into teaching two Business classes at a local College has been illuminating and has altered generational impressions and stereotypes and created some opportunities for me to grow. Here are the lessons my students have taught me:
* The next generation of business leaders need assistance with collaborative project management and presentation skills. Their technical competence is assured – they have the ideas but need help selling them and building them out.
* Feedback needs to be consistent and formal as well as spontaneous and off the cuff – but more importantly, it needs to be direct. In short they need to know where they are.
* Onboarding needs to be succinct and functional – I spent more time clearly defining short terms goals and short-term expectations – the long-term attention span needs to be developed and not assumed.
* Their ability to navigate adapting technology supersedes those that will be leading them – the ability to create content that speaks to that ability keeps them engaged (vs traditional forms of learning).
* Soft skills will determine their success in the market – will form zones of separation from their competitive set.
*There is no blind acceptance of power norms (norms that previously generations accepted and created) – they are not questioning everything out of immaturity or entitlement – they are questioning out of self-advocacy.
I think great students are hard to find but are even harder to forget. To the students I have taught this semester thank you for your patience, guidance, and opportunity for me to gain another inalienable truth for my toolbox – it is impossible to learn unless you admit you do not know.


Brent Billing is a Senior Director of Client Services at Lecours Group. He has been with Lecours for 22 years.