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As the workforce ages and gets closer to retirement, the younger generation needs to learn how to manage older talent. That means creating an environment so older workers will stay engaged, productive.

To make this happen, you must earn trust and respect for your authority to manage conflicts and to motivate your team.

Here’s a checklist:

  1. Keep an open mind and ignore stereotypes about older people. Throw out your assumptions.
  2. Get to know your team members’ strengths, weaknesses, work habits and perspectives.
  3. Make changes when necessary, but respect tradition and help employees understand why new policies are important for overall business objectives.
  4. Make it a point to be supportive – invest in your employees’ success and ask questions with collaboration.
  5. Establish open communication about expectations, goals and decisions with transparency and frequency.
  6. Stay open to feedback.
  7. Be authoritative but not authoritarian.
  8. When feasible and as much as possible, involve everyone in decison-making.
  9. Encourage continuous professional growth.
  10. Be cognizant of the range of ages in your team.
  11. Value older workers’ life experiences and invaluable knowledge.
  12. Train employees as needed.
  13. Make certain your benefits plan meets their health and financial needs.
  14. Motivate them with ample recognition.
  15. Older employees know you’re the boss so don’t waste time posturing.
  16. Stay flexible with talented employees as much as you can. Your older workers might differ in their needs. They might prefer shorter, flexible or longer hours.
  17. Leverage their talent and encourage them to mentor your younger employees.

Finally, always remember you’re on the same team and you can learn from your older workers. If they feel they’re heard and respected, they won’t notice your age. They’ll notice your leadership.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more tips:

So You Finally Got Your First Management Job? Now What? — There are 10 principles every new manager needs to know and use.

HR Retention: Keys to Profit from Cross-Generational Teams — Today’s cross-generational workplaces present a quandary for employee retention. Promote a trust culture that’s appealing to everyone – young and old.

Millennial Manager: Earn Respect, Get Results with 6 Tips — It can be tough to manage baby boomers. Not because they’re difficult workers. Your learning has just begun. Remember a lot of baby boomers know they have more experience than you; perhaps even in management.

Management – 8 Steps to Solve Employee Incivility — Obviously, mutual respect are vital in cooperation and teamwork for performance. Clear management strategies are necessary if you have uncivil staff members.

Management: Coach Your Employees to Better Performance — In talent management, coaching, counseling and giving feedback is of utmost importance. But it’s a difficult challenge if you don’t have a coaching culture.

Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.

-Anne M. Mulcahy


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.