Bridging the Management Age Gap

Millennials are known as the generation of smartphones, over-priced coffee, and a reputation for entitlement and leisureliness. Despite this, the success of millennials is becoming increasingly apparent in the workplace. Look around your office and you’ll probably notice the ages of both employees and managers is decreasing significantly. A recent survey by office-equipment maker Pitney Bowes found that about 20% of mid-level corporate employees now report to a boss who is younger than they are.

However, in this age of entrepreneurial startups and advancing technology, different work styles and perceptions of those differences can create many challenges. For example, there is a stark difference between millennials and baby boomers. While older workers spend more time in the office within regular work hours, the younger generation often prefers getting their work done whenever, whether at home or from their laptop in a café. These kinds of philosophical differences can have negative effects on productivity. However, there are ways for younger people in authority to handle this gap. Below are a few tips on how to instill authority and respect in the workplace.

Be Mindful

Older employees can certainly be put off by having to report to a younger manager. It’s important to be aware of those feelings and acknowledge them. Don’t assume you have the upper hand due to your higher position. Express an interest in your employee and ask them for their opinions on how you can improve as a leader. They may very well have insights that can benefit you, and they will appreciate your respect for their experience and knowledge.

Give and Take

Give lessons, provide feedback, and offer firm and feasible guidelines for your employees. In return, take feedback as well. Older employees are often more knowledgeable about the company and its history. Take advantage of their deeper well of experience, both in the office and generally in life.

Do Your Job

It can be daunting being a young manager. However, instead of shying away from being an authoritative, strong leader, it’s important to keep your goals in mind and get the job done. Not confronting older employees who aren’t working to their full potential, or letting others take the lead merely to make them more comfortable, will only decrease productivity. You’re the manager for a reason; prove why.

Older employees should implement these tips in the workplace as well. Along with being mindful, providing feedback, and doing their own jobs, it’s important for older employees not to get too bogged down in ego and commit to working with a younger manager. The knowledge and experience of the older generation and fresh perspective and energy of the younger age group can be combined to contribute to the workplace in a positive manner. Getting past age discrimination – from both sides – will help everyone work together and be more productive.

 

Tasnia Nasar

How to Handle an Employee Gone Rogue

You know that person at the office who seems to consider themselves above the rules? That’s a rogue employee. But sometimes, rogue behaviour isn’t as obvious. Someone may openly disobey policies or disrespect management, or a seemingly perfect worker may be committing serious offences in secret, such as stealing company data, pilfering money, spying on behalf of a competitor, or sabotaging their colleagues.

There are ways to detect a rogue employee early. It’s can be the person you demoted because they no longer seemed to be the ideal fit for the role they were hired for. Or the member of the management team that consistently ignores company policies or the opinions of others when making changes. If their rogue behaviour has already been identified, they’re likely already on the bubble – one more misstep and they’re out. But before firing them, it’s best to consider the value they bring. Discuss the employee’s overall performance with other managers and HR. If they haven’t caused a high level of offence, determine whether you want to give them a chance to change.

In the meantime, there are ways you can prevent rogue employees from inflicting damage on the organization by limiting and monitoring their access to information. Use identity and access management (IAM) software to increase security. With IAM software, you can regulate the amount of access employees have to pertinent data and files depending on their role. Look for software that records login information and activity for each user, allows them to update their own profiles, and can handle a large volume of users in the system without compromising performance.

If it’s a disrespectful employee you’re dealing with, evaluate how you position yourself as a manager: are you too lenient with the person in question? Do you allow them to break certain rules? Are they doing whatever they want? If you tolerate a workspace in which certain people can behave this way while others can’t, then you’re the problem. But whether you’ve been unwittingly encouraging such behaviour or not, reexamine the way you treat all employees. Reimplement the company values and the most important policies. Present these policies and guidelines clearly, as outlined in the employment agreement, to everyone.

Fellow coworkers can help handle a rogue colleague and spot other potential threats if they’re trained in detecting rogue behaviour. For example, if an employee notices their colleague taking frequent trips to the photocopier or printer when their job doesn’t really require, there’s a possibility the employee is stealing company info or using the machine for personal things. A properly-trained employee could ask their coworker about the issue (their frequent use of a machine); maybe their colleague is stealing proprietary company secrets, delivering that information to a competing business or using it for their own entrepreneurial project. Keeping employees aware of these sorts of issues will increase awareness and create a more stable and secure work environment. If anybody feels disrespected by a fellow colleague or is suspicious of their conduct, they should feel empowered to report them.

Speaking of corporate espionage, you may want to do some digging yourself. Take a look at the rogue employee’s social media channels. Ensure they’re abiding by the organization’s social media policy and aren’t bad-mouthing the company (and/or its affiliates or partners), especially after a significant incident like a demotion or another disciplinary issue. This would be detrimental to brand image and cause distrust among your customers, which is obviously bad for business.

– Joséphine Mwanvua
 

Business photo created by yanalya – www.freepik.com

Taking Time Away From Your Business

For today’s professional, life is a constant race where we are caught running from task to task and place to place. Whether we like it or not, we become used to the same routines day by day in order to complete our daily tasks. We wake up in the morning, take care of duties at home, arrive at work, complete given assignments, go back home, cook, eat, cuddle and quarrel with our loved ones and finally head to bed. This cycle simply repeats itself all year long where we are often consumed by our restlessness and make it a priority to complete other errands.

According to The 2012 National Study on Balancing Work and Caregiving in Canada, the average employee in a 25, 000 sample size spends 50.2 hours a week on activities related to work, with 54% taking assignments home to be worked on, while 57% indicate high stress levels in the organization. Taking time off from work has therefore become a crucial choice for employees and an attractive benefit for employers, where too few of us truly take time to refocus on ourselves and refresh our souls to once again perform brilliantly when back at work.

Consider 3 significant elements when deciding to take time off:

  • Time:
    The importance of time and scheduling cannot be underestimated. Choose a time frame where your commitments are minimized. Attempt to complete your tasks well in advance for your business to continue smoothly in your absence. Advise clients beforehand and offer them a well thought out external contact option in the case of an emergency.
  • People:
    There are many significant people in your life who have secretly been the backbone to your success. They may be your family, your friends or even coworkers who played a part in some of your accomplishments. Carefully choose who you want to spend your hours and days with. These individuals should bring positivity to the table and more importantly help rejuvenate and motivate you enough to continue your business once your time-off is over.
  • Activity:
    What will satisfy you best during this rest period? Whether it is a day or two off in addition to a long weekend or even a well thought out vacation for two months, put some thought into what activities you want to engage in. Being a parent, you may want to consider something enjoyable for your entire family. As a bachelor or even a couple, you may seek adventure and get lost in some new surroundings. Whatever you choose, put some time into planning your vacation in order to enjoy it to the fullest.

To put it simply, spend some time focusing on yourself while it is available! Think of it as a reward for all the committed hard work put into your professional life!

 

Reference: Revisiting Work-life Issues in Canada: The 2012 National Study on Balancing Work and Caregiving in Canada
http://newsroom.carleton.ca/wp-content/files/2012-National-Work-Long-Summary.pdf