10 Ways to Manage Employees Who Are Older Than You

This post originally appeared on Amex Open Forum and is reprinted here with permission.

There are always awkward moments when a company’s new hire is younger than the team he or she is managing.

Older employees who thought they were in the running for the same position may feel slighted, others may assume youth amounts to inexperience or over-confidence.

Often though, the experience tends to be just as uncomfortable for the new boss who is aware of joining a closely knit team, not only as an outsider, but a young one at that.

1. Don't act like the boss (yet)

'Don't be the boss. At least, don't appear to be,' said one person recently employed in a managerial position with a few older employees on his team.

Remember, old habits die hard. Give them time to get used to you and your leadership style and until then, just focus on the task at hand.

2. Don't be dismissive

Instead, help them learn new skills.

Just because older generations may not tweet or operate the Bloomberg terminal like the back of their hands doesn't mean they don't want to or are incapable of it.

3. Learn from them

4. Be understanding

5. Seek their input

6. Understand their working style

7. Communicate with your team

8. Be a leader

9. Encourage mentoring.

10. Treat them like everyone else

If older employees do step out of line, reel them in just like the rest.

You don't need to give them a dressing down in front of their colleagues but treat them like everyone else on your team and handle situations the same way.

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