Balancing act: Humility, confidence help when managing workers who are older than you
The Business Insider article further advises that when managing people who are older than you, you can't be afraid to be the boss.
"While collaborating with your team is great, you can’t be a pushover," the article states. "However, being the boss does not make you infallible, so when you make mistakes, address them in the way you’d want your team to handle their own."
I've written before about the dangers of playing the office blame game. I always try to admit my mistakes, and I think my team has appreciated that.
I've also developed the willingness and the ability to make tough decisions. In fact, since my team members have the expertise to do the day-to-day work of our department while I do not, I figure one of my most important roles is to make those decisions. The buck stops with me, as it should.
The final bit of advice I'll share from Business Insider is that younger managers should "portray confidence and openness simultaneously."
"Young managers are more likely to face doubts about their competence, so need to work harder to portray confidence but not overdo it with unnecessary displays of authority just to show who’s in charge," the article says.
That can be a fine line to walk when you're a young, relatively inexperienced manager, but it's worth the effort. If you can, with sincerity, show both confidence and humility at the appropriate times, you'll earn the respect of your team members, regardless of their ages.
I hope this helps my friend in Malaysia. Do you have any additional advice for someone in his situation? If so, please leave a comment or send me an email, and I'll share some of your ideas in a future column.