When I was in my 20s, I became a sales manager. Everyone who worked for me was far older – one guy was in his 60s. Which doesn’t seem as old now as it did then.
I was scared to death to go in and manage these people. What I found, though, was that they were far more accepting of a younger manager than I expected.
In fact, they were more than accepting; they helped me out quite a bit and coached me a few times when I did something I shouldn’t have. Managing a team of people who are older is often easier than managing a team of people who are younger.
Millennials As Managers
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As Millennials move into the employment world and take on more supervisory and management positions, they are faced with leading teams of older employees. In my case, the older team didn’t have the baggage I did. I was convinced they’d react negatively or insubordinately.
What they were thinking, though, was, “Hey, we got a new guy coming in. Let’s hear what he has to say. If he doesn’t know what he’s doing, we’ll teach him.”
But really? Don’t younger leaders face resentment? Don’t older workers feel bitter that they have to listen to some young upstart?
Brad Karsh, author of Manager 3.0: A Millennial’s Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management, writes: “New, young managers are seeing more resentment than there really is. They see it because they expect to see it.”
So, don’t expect to see it. Expect to see a coherent team. I should have taken this advice back in my 20s – I would have hit the ground running faster with my team of experienced people.