The resistance to younger leadership isn’t about jealousy or competitiveness (though it may be for some people). It usually stems from feeling disrespected. Employees who have been in the business for a long time and have worked hard to get the company to where it is now may feel that an outsider will not appreciate their history or insider knowledge. It also doesn’t help that newcomers often make immediate changes to clean up the business and improve efficiency. While their intentions are good, their approaches often are not, and this can make staff members not want to cooperate. The results do not end up being higher productivity and innovation as expected, but rather conflict and miscommunication, causing a lower bottom line for everyone involved.
Naturally, the best course of action to take is a preventative one. Before you hire young leaders, ask them during the interview process how they would manage older team members in order to get a feel for their perspectives and methods. Look for an attitude of collaboration, consideration, and appreciation. If the hires have already been made, it’s not too late to create an environment where both upper-level and lower-level members can thrive. The key is to help your supervisors find a balance in authority and humility. They can do this in three easy steps. 1. Research: Learn about and meet with each person they are over. 2. Consult: Utilize the wisdom of older employees. 3. Invite: Encourage questions and accept feedback.
Step 1: Research
Young leaders should take the time to get to know the people whom they will be leading. They need to know each person’s strengths, weaknesses, and personality. They should meet one-on-one with each worker to find out what his or her role is and how they can help the person fulfill responsibilities. They need to understand what is expected of them as a er. These actions will help establish a relationship of trust and familiarity between both parties.
Step 2: Consult
Young leaders may have the most current know-how and understanding of trends and technology, but that doesn’t mean that older employees don’t have needed wisdom. A smart leader will tap into these sources and use the combined expertise and perspectives to make the best decisions. When people feel useful and sincerely appreciated, they feel respected and return the respect. Respect is the foundation of a cooperative workplace. If all leaders, regardless of age, realized and practiced this concept, many work issues would disappear. It may seem that showing dependability or humility will lead to a lack of respect, but it actually does the opposite and helps retain valuable employees. What does lead to disrespect is micromanaging or under-managing.
Step 3: Invite
Another thing that will increase mutual regard between young leaders and their associates is being able to ask for and accept feedback. When people know that their bosses are sincere in their desire to know how they can improve or be more useful, people not only will give more helpful feedback, but also give it in a considerate way. Then, when they see their bosses integrating the feedback received, they will trust them even more. If criticism becomes a problem with certain workers, tell your supervisors to take the comments seriously. Have them thank the person for the awareness and include the person in creating and implementing a solution. The extra assignments may deter the person from making further unnecessary or rude suggestions.
Harmony Is Possible
Having people of different ages can be challenging because of their different life experiences, education, and maturity. You don’t have to let this become more problematic than normal, though. Be careful in your process of hiring young leaders. Train them on the proper way to manage and collaborate with their teams. Give them the right start so they can transition smoothly into your company and with its existing staff. Everyone may realize that they find the situation a lot more fun and interesting than they expected. If you’d like more tips on how to incorporate younger leadership into your business, use the resources available here at Mighty Recruiter.