Don’t Let Age Stop You!: 3 Tips for Managing A Team Older/Younger Than You
Easy as a new manager to feel like you have to KNOW everything.
Even MORE challenging if you are leading a team that is a decade or more older — or younger — than you.
Here’s the thing: you can’t be everything to everyone. (Bonus points if you could spot the Everclear lyric!)
That’s a fast-pass to getting burned out. And frustrated. And to having your job totally consume your life.
Here are three tips to staying in control of your superpowers – your time and energy:
Tip #1 Call out the situation and ask for help.
Often times, managers don’t think they can show their weaknesses because it will diminish their authority.
Here’s the big secret: your team already knows your weaknesses. They have likely talked about your weaknesses when you aren’t around.
That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like you — or most importantly — won’t work with you.
They just get that you’re human. And can’t be perfect at everything.
What to do? Be honest! Talk about the situation openly and honestly.
Ask for help.
Tell people the expertise that you are bringing to the team – and ask for what expertise they are bringing to the team.
Talk about how you are going to work together.
What might this look like?
“I know I’m stating the obvious here, but I’m at least a decade younger than most of you. I know we are capable of meeting our quarterly sales goals, but I’m not going to be able to do it alone. In my previous jobs, I learned how to _____[insert your brilliance here]_______.
As we move forward, what strengths do each of you bring to the team?
[BE SURE TO ACTIVELY LISTEN TO RESPONSES!]
Awesome. Let me think some more about this and come up with a plan to use all of our strengths to the best of our abilities. I’ll come up with a strategy, and we can meet again to make sure that the plan will cover all of our responsibilities and obligations.”
This is important! You are stating your authority, while also respecting and honoring the experience and expertise around you.
People want to know that what THEY KNOW is valued. Asking for input and collaboration is a sure way to get people on board with you, despite your differences.
Tip #2: Delegate, delegate, delegate.
Believe it or not, delegating shows your team that you trust them with important work.
Deep down, we all want to know that our work is valued and important. That’s at least part of the reason we get up every day, leave our families, and head to work.
Delegating to you team shows that you are honoring this sacrifice in a meaningful way.
Delegating, however, doesn’t always come easy to everyone. Check out 3 hacks for delegating here.
Tip #3: Take off your ‘mask’ and be your authentic self.
People can call “bull shit!” a mile away, especially when it comes to work situations.
As a manager, it’s really crucial here that you stop trying to be right, stop trying to assert your authority, and just be your authentic self.
Your authenticity will resonate with your team, and they are much more likely to step up and help you if 1) they know you are being honest and sincere with your request; and 2) they can see why you are asking for the help.
Including people in the process of figuring out how to solve problems not only gets you to the answer faster, but gets your team’s buy-in along the way.
BOTTOM LINE: Ask for help and be yourself. The journey is a whole lot more enjoyable — for you, and your team — when you can all show up with your authentic selves at work.
It might take a while for people to trust you, but that’s ok. Trust and relationship building take persistence and perseverance. They will come around…I promise.
Remember that change is hard. Try your best. You’ve got this!
Keep rocking and I look forward to connecting with you on social media soon.