How to manage workers older than yourself17 Jul 2014
It’s a worthy dream for any young employee – being promoted into a position of influence and leadership beyond your years. If you have found yourself in this position, congratulations!
Now is the time to start putting your management skills and training into action and tackling the demands that come with working in a position of leadership.
Unfortunately, young supervisors and managers often face unique challenges in the workplace. Many members of the team could be significantly older than the up-and-coming leader, with a wealth of hard-earned knowledge and experience under their belt.
Holding a rank of authority over older workers can be tough but is not a challenge skilled leaders should shy away from. In fact, with the right approach, young managers may even benefit from leading a more senior-aged team. Here are three tips to help you effectively lead employees older than yourself.
Embrace your position, but don’t be cocky
Your role in the workplace gives you a certain level of authority over other team member but should not be an excuse to act arrogantly.
As long as you believe in yourself and your position, other workers should find it easy to rally behind you. You have earned this role for a reason, so act like it!
However, when you approach the role as if you automatically know better than anyone else, you’ll soon discover this breeds resentment among your team.
Appreciate their strengths
Older workers bring a lot to the table. With their many years of experience, they could offer you a wealth of advice and knowledge to make quality decisions.
Understand their challenges
Don’t expect a mature-aged worker to complete tasks in the same way as you would. Older employees have likely been using certain methods for many years, and may not be able to quickly change to suit your style.
It is therefore vital that you allow older workers to use the tools and practices that are most efficient for them. Rather than forcing each employee to utilise a tablet just because they’re your favourite toy, consider offering more flexible options.