Managing a team can be very challenging for anyone. It does not matter if you are young and inexperienced or older and more experienced. Perhaps the second situation might be slightly easier to handle. Teams come with different kinds of skills, personalities and ages. It might get a little awkward and uncomfortable if you have to manage a person who is older than you. This is so because you assume that this person has more experience, knowledge and confidence than you.
There are 5 tips you might want to consider in such situations.
You have been given this job for a reason
Don’t you ever forget this. You might perhaps want to have this inscribed on your desktop, so that no situation at the workplace can get the better of you. You got this job for a certain reason, for the skills and the strengths that you bring to the table, as compared to the others. Also, older employees’ priorities might be something else at this point in their careers. It is a good idea to be patient and assertive, rather than being pushy.
You should be very clear in your head and in your communication to your team about what you want them to achieve. Adopt a democratic style of leadership which keeps friction in the team to a minimum. By focusing on tasks rather than uncertainty and emotions, you indicate a clear direction and reasoning behind your requests. Create an amicable environment where everyone is moving in the same direction together.
Do not underestimate the power of the elders
The elders bring a lot of experience to the table which you can use. In life, there is not enough time to make all the mistakes yourself. Learn from the mistakes of older employees and make use of their knowledge. A good leader acknowledges the strengths of each member and their contributions to the vision of the team, thus recognizing their importance and making them feel good.
Understand what makes your team tick
It is very important to know what makes your team happy, what motivates them, what keeps them going and how to get them working hard. Respect their opinions and find out from them how they would like to be managed. Having the right conversations would help in bringing clarity to what makes them tick. Older employees definitely want to learn and stay relevant and supporting them in the right way with appropriate development plans and meaningful rewards helps in building a motivated workforce. At this point in their careers, they might be looking for flexibility rather than money.
Getting the best out of your team
As a leader, if you are clear about the vision of the team, the direction in which they are going and robust plans to back them up, you need not be intimidated by older or younger employees. Age is just a factor. Create a healthy and motivated environment that uses the different skills that each employee brings.
Any workforce would definitely have a couple of employees who are older than their managers. All it takes are smart and wise ways of managing them without making anyone feel uncomfortable.
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