Guest post by Cameron Britt
1. Back your skills and abilities
Confidence in the workplace is a powerful tool. But it should never be replaced with arrogance. Confidence in a meeting, a boardroom or even in the lunchroom is important for young managers who want to earn the respect of their colleagues and the praise of their superiors.
My experience suggests that a team will respond to leadership which is fair and supportive in nature, sets an example to follow and that provides a clear vision. Each of these traits can only be truly realised by a manager who backs their own ability.
2. Respect knowledge and experience
Managing a team that is diverse in age, religion, culture and gender is a characteristic of the contemporary workplace.
Young managers will often be presented with the opportunity – and responsibility – of managing staff more mature in their career journey than themselves. Depending on the individuals and the scenario, this can be a straightforward relationship, or complex due to age-gap conflict or other age-related insecurities.
An effective strategy is to always show respect to team members and consider how, as a manager, you can learn from their experience and knowledge. The traditional relationship between managers and team members offers the great opportunity for skills and knowledge to be learned, as well as taught.
3. Embrace learning and development
The opportunity to develop your career via further training or study should always be high on the agenda of young managers.
Skill and experience probably helped you achieve your current position – and management responsibility – but this can be further strengthened by undertaking additional learning in an area that will have future benefits for your career.
If your employer offers professional development options, or as a manager you have access to a training and development budget, opportunities should be maximised to advance knowledge and employability.
4. Tackle problems with solutions
The Gen Y stereotype often paints the picture of young staff who expect rapid career advancement and significant benefits following very little contribution or commitment. One way that young managers can help to debunk this Gen Y myth is to offer solutions to problems that arise in the workplace.
Young employees can offer a fresh perspective and are often good at identifying problems, but feel it is the responsibility or role of more senior staff to offer or make subsequent change.
Sure, seniority in organisations is a benefit in creating change, but it is an impressive individual who can see a problem and takes the time to consider and articulate a potential solution to that problem. Developing the ability to identify problems and consider effective solutions is a highly regarded competency.
5. Be self-aware
An all too familiar blind spot with employees of all ages is a lack of self-awareness. This can be a real issue in the workplace because it limits an individual’s ability to understand how their personal brand and behaviours are perceived by colleagues or stakeholders.
Poor self-awareness can mean that employees misread their own development needs, or simply choose to ignore them, which can be detrimental to future opportunities and relationships.
A young manager will have often accomplished impressive results early in their career – leading to their career advancement – and most desire to continue forward on a rapid and positive career trajectory.
However, the ability to achieve this can be dependent upon understanding your strengths, and just as importantly, identifying opportunities for growth and improvement.
Cameron Britt is a 29 year old young professional and a member of the 2014 AIM30 list. As Head of Community at the Essendon Football Club, Cameron develops community engagement strategy and partnerships for one of Australia’s most blue-chip sporting brands. Cameron holds a Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) and is completing an MBA.