How to Successfully Manage People Who Are Older Than You

Fa calendar 16 grey January 28, 2021   
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Younger professionals are occupying more senior positions because the workplace is now guided by merit and skill more than years of experience. Here are some helpful tips that will help manage older colleagues.

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Photo credit: Javi_indy

The workplace is always an interesting place because normal societal dynamics change rapidly. When it comes to age, traditionally, the older and more experienced workers have more authority and occupy senior positions.

Nowadays, however, the tide has changed. The younger ones are occupying more senior positions because the workplace is now guided by merit and skill more than years of experience. That is why you have younger people occupying the C-Suite positions. For example we have KCB Group CEO Joshua Oigara who rose to the helm of Kenya’s biggest bank by asset base at the age of 37. At the time, Joshua was the youngest CEO to ever lead a publicly traded bank in Kenya.

Seeing that this is a growing trend, how can a younger person maintain a cordial relationship with older colleagues while managing them successfully? Here are some helpful tips that will help you manage older people:

Be humble

Avoid an attitude of arrogance that will cause conflict with older people. Be ready to listen and even take criticism or suggestions. This is one of the true marks of leadership.

Be respectful

In Africa, one of the values that we have been bequeathed by our grandparents and parents is respect for people who are older than us. Being in a position of authority, doesn’t mean you lose your sense of respect. You can give instructions and be firm without using demeaning words or a condescending tone in your voice.

Embrace empathy

Sometimes it is easy to give a junior person a dress down because of missing the mark or making a mistake at work. However, a good leader will first of all try to get to the root of the problem and understand why the person made the mistake. This can only happen if a person exercises empathy.

Ask for advice from older leaders

Older leaders have meaningful wisdom which you can use to better lead a team of people who are more advanced in age. They help you know how to communicate better and more clearly in a way that you will be understood.

Don’t let them push you around

You should be nice and approachable but you also need to draw the line by being firm and assertive about your decisions. Don’t allow them to step on you or hand in substandard work. You should ensure that they maintain excellence and respect.

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    Atheno charity | February 09, 2021 11:12

    Indeed da best ting to do

    Victor | February 04, 2021 11:15

    Nice. This is helpful. Thank you.

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