Rewind back at least ten years; there’s a strong likelihood that your manager was older than you; however, as we enter 2018, many younger professionals are progressing through the ranks at a faster rate than days gone by. In fact, there’s a large possibility that your manager could be a similar age to you or even younger.
It’s understandable that employees might feel uncomfortable with this; nobody likes being dictated to by someone who, in essence, feels more junior than them. For managers both new and old, this can make an already challenging role even more complex. If you’re a manager who’s keen to adapt your managerial approach to accommodate staff of all ages, then be sure to read on and find out VANRATH's top pointers for intergenerational management.
Adapt and tailor your management style to the individual, rather than having a blanket approach. This means pin-pointing their particular strengths and weaknesses and listening to their development needs. You may have members of your team who are in the same role, on the same level, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll perform in the same way; each person brings something completely different to the table and it’s down to you to push and grow their skills.
Don’t assume you know more than them just because you have ‘manager’ in your job title. If they’ve been dedicated to a specific project then chances are they’ll be more in the know than you, even though you’ve been overseeing their actions. Take into account what they tell you and use your previous experience to guide them, rather than your personal opinions.
This goes for larger departmental decisions too. Don’t be afraid to include your staff when debating decisions that may affect them and the team; you may find that they provide you with some really useful input that informs your choices (they work within their roles five days a week, which provides them with a wealth of insight.)
The age difference between you and your team member(s) may be intimidating, but don’t let them see that. You’ve progressed into a managerial role for a reason and should feel entirely confident in your position. If they disagree with you on something that you feel professionally astute on, take their grievances on board but stand your ground.
Be trusting of your staff and give them freedom to work autonomously. Try not to micromanage or clock-watch them; they’ll put that down to a lack of faith in their ability which will cause them to become unmotivated and disengaged.
Be mindful that some people in your team may be married with children or have other home commitments, and maintain a flexible working environment. They’ll appreciate that you value their lives outside of work and give you their full attention when they’re at the office.
If you’d like to read more articles about the best ways to manage a team, then you might enjoy our blog on People Management Tips for First Time Bosses. If you’re looking for a new role then be sure to browse our live jobs page here.