Managing someone with more experience: The Baby Manager

My mum always said you knew you were getting older when you started to see policemen that were younger than you; so I don’t know what Tracey thought when I walked in and said:

“Hi, I’m James, your new manager.”

bossbaby

Tracey must have been around 15 years older, at first this wasn’t intimidating as I figured being more senior and experienced in the project management field gave me an advantage.

That was until I got a copy of her original job application, which contained nearly two decades of experience working in project and implementation fields.

“How do you manage someone with more experience?” I thought.

The fear and doubt set in, I felt like a fraud – how I was going to cope?  What could I teach her?

Before our first meeting I had composed myself, realising I had been appointed to this position for a reason.  Although my management experience up to this point in my career was very little, it was important I kept it together and learnt quickly.

In being a manager I am taking the following approach:

  1. Keep Cool – from my experience of being a Karate instructor, the more I show lack of confidence in management skills, the more my lack of experience would show
  2. Be honest – I wasn’t going to bullshit, if I didn’t know something I would admit it
  3. It’s your job – as a manager I need to accept that I will be working with a range of people, many who will know more and have different experiences to me – I don’t always get to pick and choose who is under me
  4. I am not alone – there is no need to wing this, therefore my intention is to seek the advice of a trusted colleague with management experience so that I can improve my management skills
  5. Be a leader not a boss – I hate the term “boss”, a boss to me is insecure and lets power go to their head.  I would rather be seen as a leader, creating a mutually beneficial relationship, based on trust and respect.

I don’t know if this approach will work as I am in early stages, but I will see what happens.

My motivation to become a manager was that I wanted to give something back to others, in the same way others helped me get ahead, but I have a feeling I will be learn more from the experience.

Mostly I intend to enjoy it, wish me well.

James.

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