NSW Management Interns' Blog

Blog posts by NSW Management Interns of the Australasian College of Health Service management


Oscar Chaffey
Oscar Chaffey

ACHSM blog

Ageism? The challenge of being a young manager

Author: Edmund Ng, 1st year Trainee

Date: 15/07/2014
As young professionals are increasingly tapped on the shoulder to enter the world of management, the scenario of leading a team whose combined age is several multiples of your university entrance score is no longer an absurdity, or even a rarity – its commonplace. But whilst senior management may recognise the value of your “youthful energy” and “fresh perspectives”, new managers are often subject to issues of age-, or experience-related scepticism and criticism. Here are several ways to keep your team onside when they’re concerned about the number of candles on your cake.

  1. Seek their opinion – allow older colleagues to have their input into problem solving. Recognise the value of their knowledge and experience when developing solutions, and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from others who clearly know more than you.

  2. Keep their lifestyle in mind – recognise that older colleagues will probably have a very different day to day lifestyle to you, often with family commitments and responsibilities that will restrict their working habits.
  3.  Be generous in showing appreciation – you’d be surprised by far something like a simple “thank you” can go; show your appreciation and acknowledge their efforts and achievements.
  4. Avoid micro-management – if your team is full of experts with experience, then chances are they know how to do their job. Focus on setting operational goals, and trust them to determine how best to meet those goals. Only begin tightening your grip if performance slips.
  5. Be confident – No one feels comfortable around an insecure leader, so recognise the strengths of your skillset and put them to use. Although you’re young, there’s a reason why management selected you for this position, it’s just up to you to show demonstrate those reasons to your team.

Being a new manager is always difficult and winning people over is no easier. But by keeping the principles of trust, respect and appreciation in mind, you’ll be able to move past these hurdles readily and get on with making a difference in your organisation.

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