When it comes to work, one’s age can influence how employees see one another. This is very true when their team leader is younger than them, with some doubting if the leader is the right person for the job.

If you are tasked as a team leader and leading a team comprised by older members, here are some tips to help you out:

Get to Know Your Team

When you just got promoted to the position, take some time to get to know your team. Ask them about their work experience and know their thoughts and ideas about their tasks. Of course, make it a point to speak about yourself to them and be honest.

Break ground and share some personal things about you. Just remember to keep the cringe level low or zero. What’s good to share: your family, your hobbies, your favourite movie. What’s not good to share: your fetish and your political views.

Have a Common Goal

When you are all familiar with one another, share to them your vision for the team. This vision will help your teammates see that you trust them and ready to help them through their career.

The vision should be selfless as well as attainable. It shouldn’t be “help me get a promotion goal” but more of “let’s get the best team award” goal.

This common goal will also ensure that everyone will work together to reach this goal.

Do Not Force Your Ideas to Them

If you want your teammates to respect you, do not just come in to your meeting and tell them what must be done.

Do not force your ideas to them, especially if they have ideas on their own that they like to propose. If you are working with older people, forcing your ideas can cause them to distrust you further.

Remember, they are your staff, not your children so the last thing they want is for you to shaft an idea down their throats without giving them the respect.

Always Ask for Their Opinion

Before you decide on what your team will do, ask your workers about their thoughts on the matter. Older teammates may be able to give you advice on how to handle certain tasks.

Of course, it will still be you will decide in the end. However, knowing their stance will help make things easier to decide on how you can move forward.

Do Not Micromanage

When you do decide on what to do, do not hover behind them to see if they are working. Trust your teammates to do their work and their experience will definitely help out.

If they meet a problem during the task, motivate them and give them your support.

Do not Focus on Your Age Gap

Your team is comprised of older members and compared to them, you are pretty much seen as a newbie to the group. If you focus on your age difference, it will create an awkward situation for both you and your team.

Ask for Advice

It can be tough managing older teammates if they do have clashing ideas. If you find it hard to work out a solution, ask for advice from your mentor or your boss and talk to them about your experience. They can provide you with the proper guidance or strategies to deal with your older teammates.

Conclusion

When you are younger than your teammates, it is going to be a given that they may doubt your capabilities due to your age. However, if you take time to get to know them, show that you care about their opinion and ready to listen to advice, these doubts will slowly disappear.

At the end of the day, everyone just want to do their job and get it done.

For more leadership advice, why not check these out:
8 Ways to Gain Respect as a Young Leader
Star Signs You’re Ready to be a Manager
7 Career Conversations Good Bosses Have With Their Employees (Regularly!)

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12 replies on “How to Manage a Team When You’re Younger Than Everyone Else

  1. Great advice, Kally. Many of your points reflect my own experience, as I was younger than the group when I first accepted the responsibility. Alas, that’s no longer the case – time stands still for no-one.

    Still, your suggestions worked then, though I didn’t know at the time I was following them! Best to make it a collaborative effort. Avoid, above and all, the “I’m here to fix you people” attitude.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. GREAT POST Kally, Thanks!

    Having been there and done that more than one; (this is common in Retail Management) FIRST make friends; then only as an absolute necessity exert your power and authority; and even then, carefully and prudently (with witnesses) there may be some “old timers” looking for an opportunity to STAB you in the back (been there too…ignore them is the BEST thing you can do; and DO IT with a smile!

    God bless,
    Patrick

    Liked by 4 people

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