It is difficult to be a young manager. It comes with a lot of heat and stress. You pride yourself on making all of the right decisions that landed you in a position you may feel and an older worker may do better. Do not doubt yourself, you are there for a reason. I have created 7 Tips on being a young manager in 2018 that will help you guide your motivations and inspire you to keep pushing forward.
1. Lose your stigma’s on age biases. I experienced this working as a retail manager where most of my employees were older than me. So many times did I look for justification of being their manager, although I did not need it. This stigma sticks because of the age-old “respect your elders” ideology. I am not saying you show disrespect to your older counter-parts but simply forget the idea that you can not put them on tasks.
2. Don’t overload yourself. Sad to say, but some companies love hiring young go-getter’s because they know you will try everything you can do to prove yourself. While trying to show your worth and value in the workplace, companies may push excessive workloads on to you. Learn how to say no and only take on tasks that are beneficial for the mission. If you are young, most Millennials and Gen-X value a work/life balance. Don’t become overwhelmed with your work and burn out.
3. Adapt!!! When in graduate school, I became fascinated by multigenerational workplaces. I even wrote my capstone on it. I tied a leadership trait to these types of workplaces and found that adaptive leadership was the best route to handle different age groups in a workplace. Generations have different characteristics of how they think, learn, grow, etc. It is important for a young manager to recognize these traits and know your audience.
4. Open Communication- this is one of the most fundamental aspects of business and why a lot of partnerships fail. As humans, we like to think so much without expressing to our counterparts of what we feel is going on. When paths begin to split, anger builds up causing partners to become furious with each other before even speaking to each other about the issue. It sounds so immature but this is a real thing. Learn to identify your communication weaknesses and exploit them. As a young manager, have an open door policy where everyone feels comfortable to come in and speak with you.
5. Be open-minded. As a young manager, with employees of all different ages, understand that generational characteristics will not always align with what you think is right. Being open-minded to all workers opinions and thoughts will help your communication skills and ethics. Remember, life and business are all about learning new things. Sometimes you fail and learn how to not do something. Be open-minded to all of your worker’s thoughts and become more enlightened.
6. Teach. You are a young manager for a reason. Teach your young and older employees the ways to success. Do not hold them back. Be a leader in the workplace for them. Don’t let them think of you as their manager. You know you have done well, when they introduce you to friends and family members as their, “fearless leader” over “my manager/boss.” When you are able to teach and impact your employees as a young manager, you will no doubt make your way to the top. The younger employees will look up to you and the older employees will praise your leadership.
7. Shape the Future. This one hits home to me. As a young manager, you can inspire some many people to work harder and more efficiently. So many times, I was called a mentor by my staff who were sometimes twice my age. In the academic world, we call that being a reverse mentor. It has to be hard for someone who is older than you to work for you. You can be their inspiration to become whole again. Maybe they took the easier route in their career and didn’t push as hard as you. Learn from that and be open minded. On the other hand, your younger employees who may have a closer age connection than your older counterparts are going to look at you as a mentor. Shape the future for the better and make the world a better business-oriented world with real impact.
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