Managing Older People

The age divide is one of the sensitive issues that managers have to take care of in the workplace. It is not as hard for senior managers handling a younger bunch of employees. But for a young manager handling an older workforce, things might be different. It can be a serious if a young manager doesn’t know how to handle older employees effectively.

The age gap may be a reason to cause misunderstanding as well as miscommunication between employees and managers which may affect productivity as well as morale. An effective manager should learn how to handle such situations in order to remain productive as well as effective in handling an older workforce.

Managing older people in the workplace requires a bit more understanding as well as a higher level of sensitivity. Without these, gaining their respect especially in the case of younger managers may be difficult to achieve. But it is not impossible to do. Young managers need to do a bit more in trying to understand the dynamic of managing older people in order to keep a happy and productive workforce working for him.

Young managers should especially take good care of handling certain emotional issues faced by older workers. Take the case of office promotion- older employees may get upset on not being chosen for a better job position that was instead given to a younger employee.

It is wrong to say, "I understand how you feel" to an older employee simply because you possibly can’t understand how they are feeling. A better way would be to encourage them to express their feelings to you. Be sensitive to their emotions and try to understand them by letting them express themselves on certain issues that happen in the workplace. This will help provide you with a better understanding of your older employees and build respect between generations.

Another way to manage older employees effectively is by getting into their preferred mode of communication. Being a young manager brought up with technology, you might rather use emails to communicate with your employees. This mode of communication may not suit up with older workers. They would rather prefer face to face communication. Try to communicate with older employees using their preferred mode of communication.

Another good way to reach out to your older employees at the office is to become open to suggestions. Experience from your older and more senior employees may even be a valuable contribution to make the office even more productive.  Never present yourself as a manager that is not open to inputs from your older employees. This will not help you in any way to make them think more highly of you as their manager.

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