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Managing Older Subordinates

Posted on January 8, 2020 | No Comments on Managing Older Subordinates

There may be discomfited times when a younger officer employee is assigned to manage a team whose members are older. In which case, the younger officer feels uncomfortable supervising and commanding older employees, who may similarly feel insulted or slighted getting orders from a younger employee. This situation can obstruct in creating a closely knit successful team if both leaders and members are on a warpath. As boss, manager or leader, the initiative to find a way to successfully supervise the team would rest on the young officer and here are ways one can manage older subordinates.

Avoid being bossy. Instead of acting or appearing to be the boss, simply focus on the job or tasks to be done and perform your duties as manager.

Be polite and courteous. The reason why a younger officer is often assigned to older subordinates is to help them learn new skills. Do not brag or differentiate on what you can do against what they can’t do. As the boss, one should teach the oldies about the new and latest technologies that will make work more efficient and effective.

Respect their age. Every person must be respected especially the elderly. Show that you respect them by using traditional respectful languages. However, such respect is restricted to their being older only. One still needs to be compelling when it comes to following orders.

Communicate with them. One way to show respect is by recognizing their experience at work. One can solicit for suggestions or consult them once in a while. However, this should be balance as not to show that one is inexperienced about the job. As the boss, one should also demonstrate expertise in what one does. Communication is also the most effective way to establish relationship and smoothen out differences.

Understand differences. Older employees usually are married with kids and have families they need to attend to. The young single boss who may not yet have familial responsibilities should be able to understand work life balance. It would prudent to treat social events for employees to be family oriented or inclusive.

Be firm and tough. Some older subordinates would try to intimidate a younger manager by being recalcitrant or disobedient. If a subordinate employee needs to be scolded, warned or punished for misbehavior, then the manager should do so in compliance to company policies. It’s nothing personal but just work.

Originally posted 2013-05-11 20:37:44.

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