Whilst they can bring a fresh, new outlook, young leaders are also having to ask themselves, how can I effectively lead older employees? After all, it is not always easy for younger people to gain the support and, crucially, the respect of their senior colleagues, many of whom may have been part of the corporation for quite some time. Forbes has pinpointed four key areas to work on.
1. Be an Active Listener and Learner
The advantage of seasoned employees is that they are experienced and know the ins and outs of the company. As such, it is especially important for young leaders to listen to and learn from their older colleagues.
2. Get to Know Them on a Personal Level
Older employees often have different values. Their family and personal life are more likely to be their main priority, while younger employees and leaders often have a tendency to focus more on career development. In practice, this can lead to frictions and misunderstandings. Getting to know your team reduces potential barriers and allows your older colleagues to get to know you as well. Be transparent and show your true self.
3. Blend Old and New Ways (Embrace Differences)
Older employees will have their own routines, traditions and approaches to certain matters. It is important for young leaders to become familiar with these ways themselves before trying to implement any new changes.
4. Earn Respect by Being Less Authoritarian
Respect is something that has to be earned. It can’t be commanded. Being the new, young boss, is a responsibility and not a special privilege. Rather than demanding or commanding it is better to become part of the team.
Start to Lead
Naturally, this is all great advice, but how do you put it into practice? To help get you on the right track, we have established the new Start to Lead program. This two-part program is based around the principles of the latest thinking on leadership, i.e. rather than leading from a formal position, leadership today is all about having the right mind-set and taking up a leadership role. Start to Lead is therefore the ideal foundation for young professionals, empowering them to develop their own leadership skills and enhance team performance. Click the title and start to lead!