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How to manage older employees during projects

Author: Anna Preston
by Anna Preston
Posted: Apr 04, 2017

If you have employees on your team that are older than you are, you may feel awkward when managing them. However, with people being promoted to project manager at a younger age, this is becoming common. With that in mind, read on to discover some top tips on managing older employees effectively.

  • Take a project management training course – There are many
project management training courses available today, including the APM Project Fundamentals course and the PMP certification. While these courses will not specifically focus on older people, they will give you plenty of useful advice regarding how to manage your team effectively. No matter how experienced you may be, you can always benefit from further training.

  • Don’t feel bashful about your management role – A lot of older workers have already been managers, which means it is unlikely that they are going to question your authority as a manager. This is only going to occur if you get into a debate with them regarding their area of expertise. Focus on doing what it takes to manage the project, and stay away from ego challenges. Your older workers will thank you for it.
  • Treat older workers as partners – If you treat older workers as partners instead of subordinates on a one-to-one level, you will earn their respect a lot quicker. This does not take away from the fact that you are the project manager and that you have the ultimate authority when it comes to decision making. A lot of older workers may know about managing projects than you do, as they have more experience in doing so, however, they will also respect and understand the management role you play, as they come from hierarchical management structures.
  • Use older workers as mentors – There are many older workers who want to give back. They will relish the opportunity to train younger team members. In fact, this is a role they will thrive in. As a project manager, this is an opportunity you should jump on. For example, you could ensure that all younger staff and trainees have an older mentor to help them.
  • Value their experience – Nothing will create a more hostile environment than overlooking the experience your older team members have. They will have seen numerous problems in projects before, and thus their experience can be invaluable. They can solve a problem in a matter of hours while it may take a younger employee days to rectify it.
  • Understand what motivates your older team members – Last but not least, it is important to learn what motivates your older employees. After all, it is likely that they have already worked their way up the career leader, and so this is not what they have in mind. In a lot of cases, older workers simply like making a contribution and their love their job. This may be difficult for you to emphasis with, as you are in the career-building stage. However, it is critical that you find a way to do so.
About the Author

The author has written and published articles on a wide range of topics including Small Business Advice, Tax and Accounting, Interior Design, House Renovation and Project Management.

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Author: Anna Preston
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Anna Preston

Member since: Apr 29, 2015
Published articles: 188

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