Young Boss: How to Manage When Your Team is Older

Don't let age be a hindrance to leadership success

(Image: Thinkstock)

So you’re the boss, having accomplished such a feat before the age of 30. But your team consists of professionals who are a bit older, and maybe they don’t respect your authority. Well, try this strategy to ensure a great team dynamic—and results:

Don’t learn by example.

Not knowing what to do, I copied my boss’s management style because we had a fantastic and productive working relationship. It was a disaster. There’s no cookie-cutter style for managing people, and part of being a good manager is reading people.

Use what worked for you as an employee in the past as information, but don’t replicate it exactly and expect success. Try different techniques, and pay attention to what works until you create your own style.


Ask for help.

When I realized I was drowning as a manager, I reached out to our HR consultant for guidance. We had meetings every month for me to ask questions and get feedback on specific issues. I read articles and books. I asked friends what they liked and didn’t like in their managers and got advice from people who have been managing for decades.

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