Managing a team is never easy, but it becomes especially challenging when you’re tasked with managing a group of people older than you. You may struggle to get respect from your employees, and may deal with feelings of embarrassment or guilt about your role. In order to excel as a manager when your staff members are older than you, try utilizing these strategies:
Don’t be afraid to address the issue
If you truly feel as though the age factor is an issue, don’t be afraid to address it head on so that you’re free to move past it. You can ask if any team members have concerns about the issue, or simply admit that you know it may be awkward, but that you don’t plan to let it impact your ability to lead. By getting the situation out in the open, you allow yourself to feel more comfortable, and also put your team at ease.
Remember that you don’t need to prove yourself
Sometimes young managers feel the need to prove themselves to their older employees, as if to validate their position or illustrate that they actually are capable of leading. This can get out of hand quickly, and can turn the workplace into a toxic environment. Fight this urge. You’ve been selected for a management role based on your abilities, attitude, and experience. You don’t need to prove your worth to your team.
Understand that you bring your own unique experience
While your staff may be older than you, keep in mind that you have your own set of skills and experience. Never feel as though you have to apologize for your age or explain away your management title. Take pride in what you bring to the office, and realize that any manager, regardless of age, can always stand to learn and improve.
How do you handle managing an older team? Let us know in the comments!