How to Manage Employees who are Older than You

manageNow that you are in a leadership position, you are responsible for managing a team of employees and executing all important strategies your team is tasked with. As a young manager, what do you do if you are tasked with managing a team of employees who are older than you?  You might also be dealing with a team that is potentially more experienced than you are. Although you may be qualified for your new role, you might encounter some older employees who may not give you the respect you deserve. So in such a case, how do you handle the whole management experience?

Get to know your employees

It is very hard for you to gain respect by commanding it. However, you should instead aim at getting to know your team members. After that, work at knowing their individual strengths and work habits as well as their characteristics. Discuss real issues as they approach and do not try to create labels around people. Understand and appreciate each strength everyone brings on the table. You need to be respectable, very curious and open-minded when dealing with your older team members.


You need to make changes where necessary, but at the same time, you have to respect traditions. When dealing with older people, it is very important to understand why they are doing things in a certain way, before making a decision to change the way they do things. Employees may think that you are shaking things up while targeting them. You need to make it clear that changes are important for the overall business good, and that you are not targeting anyone.


Be supportive and collaborative

In any team, there will be a substantial age difference between managers and other employees. Due to this, it is natural that some competition may arise. The young leaders may feel like they have all it takes to outdo the older ones and prove their competence. However, doing so may breed resentment and insubordination. As a leader, you need to go an extra mile to show your employees that you support them and that there is the need to work as a team. As your employees for help especially when it comes to learning new skills.



CommunicationYou need to communicate frequently and in a transparent manner. As a manager, you should never underestimate the importance of communication and giving feedback to other members of your team. When you notice that there is some work well done, give them a shout out and a pat in the back. It is also very important that you encourage the act and process of honest and open communication between members of your team.

Lead by example

If you want your employees to respect you and listen to everything you tell them, you need to set an example through leadership. If you are driven by ego and inability to lead effectively, you will be losing it. If other members of your team note your immaturity and inexperience, it will become very hard for them to listen to you. While it can be very hard to manage a team of older employees, it can equally be very rewarding in terms of experience in the longer run.