So, you find yourself in the position of managing a team and some people on that team are old enough to be your mom or dad or older brother/sister.
Are you getting resistance?
Are people listening to you?
Are people being somewhat passive -aggressive?
Have you heard the comment, “You’re young enough to be my daughter/son!”
Maybe none of this has happened and everything is going great. Whatever your situation may be, self-reflection and development are always warranted so take a moment to read through the following sounds tips for young managers…
Let go of your ego: Despite how good you may be, you have been chosen for a leadership role over other people who may have more life and business experience than you. This can be a difficult situation for everyone. Resistance to this situation is to be expected. Instead of reacting defensively or letting it interrupt your ability to manage effectively, try to put yourself in the resistant person’s shoes to understand where they are coming from. If needed, have an open dialogue to improve the situation and find out how you can help repair the working relationship.
Be the manager who solicits input from each team member: Be that manager that everyone seems to respect. Be the one who plays to people’s strengths and solicits feedback and input. Once you have this information, don’t just sit on it, create an open team forum where ideas are processed, input is acknowledged and problems are solved. A “know it all” “one stop shop” attitude will only isolate you and repel others.
Spend some time: getting to know the people who are reporting to you. Investing time and effort in relationship building is one of the most important things you can do. If you have genuine and productive relationships with people prior to the onset of a problem, you are more likely to be able to work through the problem effectively based on the history of trust and communication you have built.
Give credit where credit is due: As a rising star, you may have the temptation to prove yourself at every turn, inadvertently (or perhaps purposefully) stepping on others’ toes. This behavior is poison when it comes to your reputation and your ability to effectively lead, since it destroys trust, relationship building and collaborative work. Therefore, always give credit where credit is due. Acknowledge when someone has contributed an idea or identified a problem with a project or procedure and give that person public credit. Taking away someone else’s thunder will only strike your credibility down.
Don’t compensate: for things you don’t know. Just because you may not know how a procedure works or how a project is best completed does not mean you are a bad boss or not doing a good job. When we are promoted at young ages, it’s often hard to admit when we don’t know something. That is one of those skills that comes with maturity and making enough mistakes in life that you start to get comfortable with the fact that you aren’t perfect. Because you don’t know everything, it creates a wonderful opportunity for you to turn to others for help and advice. This does not undermine your leadership or power, rather it strengthens it. Remember, the greatest leaders of our time have always had advisors and have always had support.
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