I read with interest this piece from Deep Patel on ways that young leaders can gain respect from their teams. I’d like to add a few more:
Don’t think of yourself as unique
I think an air of defensiveness comes through once or twice in Deep’s piece – “prove your value as soon as possible” and don’t forget you can fire that “insubordinate employee”! Relax. There are more and more young leaders out there. Work sector mobility and increasing meritocracy means it’s not such a strange thing for a young person to be the boss. You’re one of many.
Keep on learning
Chances are your familiarity with the cutting edge of digital and technological innovation helped get you where you are. So now that you’re inundated with the pressures of being the leader, don’t neglect all those channels – blogs, Twitter feeds, industry websites – that were a big part of your learning. And go to cross-industry meet-ups to freshen things up once in a while. Keep looking at your own skills development.
Share your strategy
There’s been some research [link: https://hbr.org/2015/09/what-younger-managers-should-know-about-how-theyre-perceived] suggesting that young leaders are perceived to lack strategic vision, a skill that – so the old wisdom goes – comes with experience. So go ahead and share your strategy with the team. If you’re coaching young professionals, encourage them to do this.
Show commitment to the company
One criticism levelled at younger team members – particularly Millennials – is that they are always looking for the next opportunity, ready to jump ship at any moment, with no loyalty to their present employer. Show strong leadership by demonstrating to your team that you’re dedicated to the organisation and are here for the long haul.