How Does A Young Manager Run A Team Of Older Staff?
You got the job, it’s exciting and another step in your career development.
The initial problem in your mind is the realisation that you are relatively young compared to the rest of the team which is creating some negativity and uncertainty in your mind about the job.
Being younger than those staff who are your direct reports, a group that you need to set objectives for and who you will need to appraise and possibly have difficult conversations with will always set the mind racing and up the blood pressure. Worrying about being an authority figure when your age might be a real barrier to you functioning in the role effectively is an experience we have all been through.
Establishing some clear and effective ground rules is the key to your success here.
Your success depends upon some simple and easy to follow steps which will pave the way for making this process a success:
- Make full use of the experience of your team: balance their work and life experiences with your own and use what they have BUT acknowledge this in both public and private. Doing this will temper your enthusiasm for change and pushing forward, giving you a balance that will deliver the best results for all. Make sure everyone can contribute and has their views heard, recognizing that a diverse work team is a successful work team.
- Set out a shared vision of success from Day 1: set out a transparent vision of the future and a clear path forward. If everyone is on the same page, then a unified team become that much easier to develop and drive forward. Combining age, experience and (relative) youth will make the likelihood of success that much stronger.
- Promote two-way respect from the very start: value every contribution and stress that ideas and support are always both needed and encouraged. If staff feel that their voices are heard and valued, then contributions will come and the issue of any age gap will evaporate.
- Never ever Micromanage around the situation: be clear on what you want to achieve but give staff the freedom to be able to use their experience and knowledge within that broad remit. Advice from staff is highly valuable and needs to be treated with the respect it deserves, as is praise and thanks from you. Never be looking over the shoulder of experienced and motivated staff – you have other things to do that should be taking up your time. Hovering around undermines trust and puts people off from making a positive contribution.
Use the [pointers above to ease yourself into your new role and establish good quality working relationships!
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