Moments of doubt or lack of self-confidence are nothing to be ashamed of. They happen to everyone and mostly pass sooner or later. However, for this to happen, you need to understand where the doubt came from and answer the question of what led to such a thought popping into your head. After all, since you are in a management position, it means that someone saw your potential or you believed in your abilities by starting a company. But what do you do when your employees are more experienced than you and make this clear to you? How do you redirect their potential in the right direction and inspire their confidence?

How to manage people – rule 1: Learn to face it. This is not an extraordinary situation at all.

Experienced workers from previous generations are still active in the workforce and will be for a long time to come. However, their development path probably looked a little different, due to the difference in education and approach to work in those years. Most of them, are a workforce that lacks specialized knowledge. They may have more experience in their positions and know how it works inside out, but since they didn’t become managers, it means they don’t have the necessary resources to do so.

Of course, this is not about exalting oneself – this is certainly not the way to go. Every link is necessary for the company to function properly, and an experienced and well-trained employee who knows his tasks well is at a premium. However, neither seniority nor age will make a manager. For that, you need specialized knowledge and skills. Such employees need the right support and a person who will steer them in the right direction. There is a reason why this place fell to you.

If you want to know how to manage people better than you, you have to be prepared to work with individuals who are more experienced or older than you. For management to be effective, you need to have the right attitude, which is not always easy, but certainly achievable. Above all, remember that you are united by the common goal of growing the company. There is no room for rivalry here, you all play for one goal, and by combining your experience and knowledge of the company’s operation from the inside with your leadership skills will allow you to achieve success.

How to manage people – rule 2: Appreciate your employees and accept their knowledge

Are your employees more experienced than you? Since these are the facts, just accept them. Remember that their experience does not at all negate the fact that you have the expertise needed to manage them. One does not exclude the other at all. On the contrary. However, this field is often abused in one way or the other. Managers who do not feel confident with the fact that their employees have more knowledge or seniority than they do, want to gain support and trust in the wrong way, using ineffective methods.

Publicly belittling an employee or undermining his decisions on a forum is not a good method. Equally ineffective is indulging and not giving constructive criticism when needed. Overreaching one way or the other is not good, and sooner or later will bring consequences in the form of ineffective work, which will ultimately reflect on you anyway. After all, the responsibility for the team and its work is in your hands.

All because managers see a threat in experienced employees instead of seeing an opportunity. Sometimes all it takes is a frank conversation and an acknowledgment that your employee knows more than you do about a subject. This is nothing to be ashamed of at all, and appointing him as your advisor on the subject does not detract from your achievements. By making such a move, you are giving a clear signal to your team that you count their opinion and skills and can manage people well. This is precisely the best way to build authority based on mutual trust.

How to manage people – rule 3: Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice

There is nothing worse than a manager who begins his work with changes that are incomprehensible to employees. Remember that these people have functioned before without you and have become accustomed to certain patterns. What’s more, they know the functioning of the company from the inside, understand the processes perfectly, and know what the weaknesses are. Such employees are an invaluable source of knowledge, and if you let them have their say, you can gain an incredible treasure trove of ideas. Looking at the operation of a given process from their perspective will give you a new point of view.

If they have been working in the company for many years then they know very well what changes have been made so far, what has worked, and what has completely failed. Ask for advice from an experienced employee, and this will allow you to adjust the changes to the capabilities of the team and help you make rational decisions. Remember that a manager is not at all required to have comprehensive knowledge in every aspect, but to skillfully manage a team that has it.

How to manage people – rule 4: Be a signpost, don’t stick to the plan

Diagrams or templates with sequential tick-boxes are useful tools, but they should not be taken literally. It’s useful to have some frameworks that make it easier to complete the various stages of a project, but blindly following them can kill the potential that lies within employees. Sometimes it’s worth taking a step back, being a quiet observer who steps in only when needed. The manager’s role is not to do the work for the team, but to support them when needed. Often leaders intervene too strongly, perhaps for fear that when their contribution is minimal, they will be considered an unnecessary link. However, by acting in this way they take on too much work and kill the team’s potential.

Ask your employees for suggestions before implementing your policies. Take their advice, and give them input, and you may find that they will be helpful and allow you to make meaningful improvements.

How to manage people – rule 5: Talk to your team

Sometimes it is necessary to make some changes, and as you know, not every employee easily adapts to a new work environment and implements new procedures. Normally, change can cause rebellion or withdrawal, and consequently resentment or anger at the manager. However, sometimes there is no other option. Making this decision is often not easy, but it is necessary and you just have to do it. However, much depends on how you communicate this change to the team. It will certainly be met with less resistance and more understanding if you talk about why you made the decision, what it is dictated by, and what you want to achieve in the future.

Employee reluctance may be dictated by the fact that previous changes were ineffective. Tell why yours will be, what has changed and what they can count on. This is also a great opportunity to exchange ideas and make improvements based on employee suggestions if you see fit. Even if you don’t plan to modify your plan, such a meeting with employees will make them clear their doubts and feel understood and listened to.

How to manage people – rule 6: Show that you care

A new manager is a huge change for the whole team, so some will surely feel threatened and watch his every move vigilantly. This is the time for you to show that you are determined and ready to work hard. Even if you don’t have experience, prove that you have passion and are open to cooperation. First impressions are very important and can make a difference in how you are received. Also, remember that building relationships with your employees will help you gain their respect.

manage people

Managing people is not easy, and it can be even more challenging if they have more experience than you do. However, a lot depends on your approach and how you start this cooperation. To get it right, you need to work through and understand on your own that you were chosen for this position for a reason. You have the skills to do it. Once you understand and accept this, it will be simpler for you to confidently manage people who are more experienced than you. In doing so, it is worth sticking to one most crucial principle: experienced employees are not a threat, but an opportunity to effectively and efficiently achieve the goal of the company’s collective success.

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Author: Nicole Mankin

HR manager with an excellent ability to build a positive atmosphere and create a valuable environment for employees. She loves to see the potential of talented people and mobilize them to develop.