When you are young, a woman and just starting to go places in your career, the idea of managing a team, especially of older people can be overwhelming – but it doesn’t need to be! OK, you will always get some people who are negative and difficult, but that is true in any situation and at any level. Most older people are delighted to support and encourage a younger person taking their first steps up that career ladder, so let them help you, regard them as your friends and advisers. You don’t have to do what they say, but at least listen to their ideas, then make an informed decision.
Here are some tips that will help smooth that path 🙂
1. Show the older person/people that you value their experience and that you regard them as a real asset for helping the younger team members’ progress, and for the smooth running of the project and/or department.
2. Take the time to really get to know them, have a private interview with each person, go through their career, their previous leadership, their expertise, and their views on management etc as from this you should
- be able to see where you may have problems from them or in the project
- see if they are friend or foe
- see how their experience and expertise can benefit the whole team/project
- see how to get them on your side/get their support.
3. Don’t hesitate to ask them for help/advice – after all they have probably already seen it, done it, got the tee shirt.
4. Clearly explain your objectives with the team/project. Don’t try and make yourself appear to be what you are not, or have more experience than you actually have, it doesn’t work and all you do is lose respect and make yourself look stupid.
5. For the first few months at least, try to find a mentor within your company (or outside but who has a good track record of experience) and if you have any doubts that you don’t want to speak about to your team, talk to you mentor.
Embrace the challenge with energy, enthusiasm and clear focus. Being a young person managing an older team can be an incredibly rich and rewarding experience…
Speaker, consultant, trainer and coach for senior executives in International Relations, International Business Development, Career Transitions, Corporate Gender Balance Strategy and Women’s Career Advancement with over 25 years experience in international affairs (media, import-export, energy and investment/commercial real estate), Anna started her career in the City [of London]. She worked primarily in press, shipping and oil before moving into investment/real estate, spending several years in Bermuda, Spain and France as well as periods in the States, Canada and Italy. Anna is a strong advocate for women and is deeply involved in the cause Libert’Elle, supporting women victims in finding their freedom and new opportunities in life. On the personal front, she is a committed dog lover and accomplished horsewoman, passionately interested in ballet, and a devotee of adventurous hiking and trekking.