When Jerry was made head of his sales team at a pharmaceutical company, there were groans and comments questioning his promotion. What Jerry did proved that the head of sales knew a good thing when he saw it.
First, Jerry met with everyone on the team individually to better understand their strengths, preferences, style, unique qualifications and hopes. A bit of reorganization allowed members to function more freely. Next, Jerry was able to support each of his team as they advanced their qualifications.
Sheila was a wiz a developing new customers from casual contacts. Her can-do cheeriness brought positive attention to the company. Jerry began to take her to local events, industry meetings and in-house gatherings where she could be introduced to other department heads. Not long after, Sheila was promoted to an opening in the public relations department.
Jerry’s habit of highlighting each individual’s talents and successes, especially in settings where decision makers were present, launched team players toward their own goals. When a team member was promoted, everyone shared the success. Jerry offered enlightening stories that illustrated why the decision to promote was made. Knowing that the change wasn’t random or based on favoritism helped everyone buy in.
When the culture of a department or a company is based on advocacy of the ambitions and objectives of individuals by the people who wield power, productivity goes up; engagement rises; job satisfaction increases.
Leaders understand that no one wants to be seen as a cog in the wheel that is their job. Encouraging individual aspirations and making it possible for them to be fulfilled is the distinguishing feature that separates a manager from a leader.
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Sometimes its difficult for younger workers to feel comfortable when their colleagues or the people they may train or supervise are older. Here are 7 things to keep in mind that will make the situation less stressful for everyone.
- More experienced workers, even those new to a position or role, are able to work with less supervision. This frees up the boss and the rest of the team for other things.
- They have developed good interpersonal skills and know when to use a text and when a personal touch or face-to-face interaction are needed.
- Older workers will expect the head of the team or department to lead. More years in the workforce doesn’t mean that they expect to know or run everything.
- Experienced workers have seen lots of up cycles and many down cycles in business. They have a longer term perspective than younger folks do. They are a steady hand in challenging times.
- They can make you look good. Take advantage of their big-picture thinking and other areas of expertise. If you make sure they have what they need to do their job, more experienced workers can boost the success of the entire team.
- Gray hair doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is out of touch with the technology used in your industry. Many are comfortable with high tech. If you need to teach a new hire specific software or other tools, do so respectfully.
- Don’t assume that newly hired senior workers want to take your job or make colleagues look bad. The opposite is true. Most are excited to explore a new career path, learn new skills and make changes in their life. When one team member succeeds, the team succeeds.
One critical difference between those newly in the work force or new to supervision and those who entered the work force before the internet was common is how people find and store information. Younger people look everything up on the internet-all information can be found in a few clicks. Older workers have much of that information in their heads. They have memories of facts, figures, connections and relationships due to longevity. They know what has worked or can predict what will work in given situations. Don’t discount the value of their knowledge just because it doesn’t come from the computer.
You have the ability to create an interesting and successful work environment if you welcome experienced workers onto your team or into your office. They will help you shine like the star that you are.
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