Traditionally, in a corporate setting, managers were always the ones who had more years of experience under their belt than the employees who were in their team. But in this increasingly complex world of business, especially in a start-up culture and an entrepreneurial generation, it’s the young, driven and motivated people who are striving to stand apart from the crowd. A survey by leadership experts, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, has proved that leaders below 30 are more effective than those above 40. The younger crop outperformed the older ones in 49 leadership behaviours that were assessed. Coming to overall effectiveness, 44 percent of the younger group were placed in the first quartile based on peer reviews.
With a significant age gap between the younger manager and the older employee, there’s a general lack of trust for the manager’s judgement, ideas and opinions. Their expertise and skills are put to question because they lack deep knowledge and experience even if they have more current knowledge and training. Even while representing an organisation for some important event or a meeting, they are seen as less capable of presenting themselves and the brand, and are immediately judged as less competent in answering heavy questions or making effective deals. Being a young manager, thus, has its own set of challenges, as older employees may be more likely to be stuck in the mindset, that there’s only one way to do things.
Hiring in the new age
Hiring managers are slowly waking up to the fact that potential to pick up new skills can trump having an immovable number of skills and the credentials. Hence, younger managers are becoming commonplace in the context of an organisation. They are proving to be a better cultural fit and as there has been a slow shift with more companies turning towards a younger workforce, it’s only natural to have young managers employees can connect with. Younger managers usually have lesser inhibitions, are more open, approachable and attuned to the pulse of the team comprised of young employees. When it comes to risk taking, these young bloods are more likely to take the plunge, all the while challenging hierarchies and taking charge.
Culture that encourages young bosses
Workplace initiatives, like reverse mentoring, where older employees can gain new insights and knowledge about emerging trends in technology and work practices from younger managers can be a good start. With rapid changes in the way we use social media from activism, dating to building professional networks, there’s a whole new world which can be overwhelming for older employees and the younger generation can help them navigate it. Young managers have a lot to offer beyond the realms of work.
Why you should hire a young manager ?
Leadership cannot be measured with the scales of experience or age. As young managers, they’ll have major responsibilities with lesser experience and the urge to learn will mould them to excel and better handle them. They are often adaptable and quicker to adopt newer technologies and practices. With businesses becoming complex and diverse, young managers can emerge as effective leaders, who can help in spinning up a work culture that’s more inclined towards creativity and innovation. They can prove to be dynamic, visionary and there’s a great deal to learn from a younger boss, as they bring with them newer perspective towards work and life.