I have now been working in retail for over four years. Of course, everyone will tell you retail is awful, but I disagree. Yes, working with customers can test your patience, but I have made such amazing friends, learned more than I ever thought I would about business and the corporate world and have made hundreds of memories that I will never forget.
Over the course of four years I have been promoted twice. I started off as a seasonal sales associate and was then promoted to a permanent associate and about a year and a half after that I was promoted to a manager in my store. As little as it may seem, it comes along with more responsibility than I ever could have imagined and has definitely been an absolutely wonderful learning experience for me.
But, let’s back up. I was one of four managers of a store, at nineteen years old. Nineteen! I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to do at first and was very concerned with whether or not my older employees would respect someone in a managerial position that was less than half their age. It took me a while to truly navigate how to go about coaching and reprimanding my older employees at first and wondered if they would actually take me seriously.
Somehow, two and a half years later, I have worked with so many different men and women from all walks of life, races and ages. My current management role has definitely helped me prepare for my future career while teaching me how to be a bit of a boss bitch.
So let’s cut to the chase, I’m here to give you some tips on how to be the boss of employees much older than you.
- Be respectful. When reprimanding or coaching your employees you have to make sure you are being respectful towards them and not letting them intimidate you. This was something that worried me when I first started a leadership role, I never thought I would be able to reprimand someone older than me. Although, since then I have had to do just that multiple times. I have learned to always be respectful and ensure that you are treating your employees exactly how you would want to be treated in that situation. I know that I would never want my young age to affect a conversation with my boss, so I always make sure I am not portraying that to my employees.
- Be articulate. This is something that I have always found to be important in the workforce. I learned that in order to be taken seriously you must be articulate and portray the exact message you are trying to reach to your audience/employees. Especially when working with those in a corporate setting, this is very important. If you are sending emails that are not direct and articulate it’ll be very difficult for you to get a response.
- Know your employees. When I say this is probably one of the most important/best ways to have your employees respect you, I mean it. I have met some of my absolute best friends through my job, who are all at least 5-15 years older than me. I have made sure to speak with all of them and learn about their daily lives. By doing so, it has helped me build a relationship with all of my employees and co-managers and has greatly helped during situations where I have had to coach someone or reprimand them.
Whether your current job or your future career will hold you accountable for the actions of others, be sure to follow these tips. They may seem pretty common, but in heated or chaotic moments that occur while you’re on the job, you have to ensure that you are following them in order to remain professional and personable.