Project Management

What Younger Managers Should Know about How They’re Perceived

Out with the old and in with the new! In an article for Harvard Business Review, Jack Zenger knows that the baby boomer managers are slowly retiring and moving out of their management roles, and younger predecessors are beginning to take over. Here is what these young leaders need to know about their new responsibilities.

Pros and Cons of Young and Old

The quick assumption to make is that the older managers are far more effective. In order to test out this theory, a study was conducted with 455 leaders under the age of 30 and 4,298 leaders over the age of 45. Those promoted at such a young age show great potential, and that indicates that they are probably great leaders, 44 percent ranking in the top quartile for effective leadership compared to a woeful 20 percent of the older generation. There was also an analysis of 49 leadership behaviors, which uncovered that the younger group ranked better on every single one of them.

There were six areas however that the younger generation needs to further develop:

  1. Not entirely trusted
  2. Lack experience
  3. Not looked to as a role model
  4. Insensitive to the needs of others
  5. Incapable of representing the organization
  6. Unable to see the big picture

Younger leaders face the adversity of not being trusted by their teammates because they often lack experience. Their decisions are questioned more and it is difficult for them to build strong relationships with their team. The team often does not see their younger leaders as exemplary role models because the young managers fail to follow through on what they say. This is not always intentional on their part, but they should be more mindful of what they say.

Due to a lack of experience in their careers, young people often struggle to find the balance of what people need. They are young and can work endless hours, whereas older employees tend to need more time away from the office. Customers want a strong face to look to that can answer the difficult questions and, unfortunately, young leaders often fail to deliver this expectation. The ability to look at implications within the industry is something that comes with age. Young leaders too often lack this ability to see the big picture.

Young leaders did have six areas in which they shined:

  1. They welcome change.
  2. They know how to inspire.
  3. They are more open to feedback.
  4. They are dedicated to continuous improvement.
  5. They focus on results.
  6. They are willing to stretch themselves to meet a goal.

Eventually all managers will be replaced by someone younger. These individuals may lack experience, but they certainly have the heart to lead them to success. You can read the original article here:

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