Managers frequently encounter resistance from senior team members for the sheer reason of them having more expertise. What most people forget is that the organization has hired you to manage the team, not be a know-it-all. In this article at The Muse, Katie Douthwaite Wolf shares 4 ways that allow managers to tackle senior team members.
Tackling Senior Team Members
Not every top performer can be a good manager and vice versa. In fact, you will often find managers that possess none of the skills are efficiently managing a team of specialists. Nevertheless, handling senior team members are always tough. They not only have more domain knowledge than you but also know how things work in the company. Below are the 4 ways you can tackle senior team members:
- Be Comfortable in Your Skin: You might not know all the answers, but do not give the senior team members wrong advice. They will quickly see through your lies and you will lose respect eventually. Instead, assure them that you will find the answers and work hard to get those. Your perseverance will pay off.
- Seek Help Whenever Needed: Managers think it disrespectful to ask team members for any advice or knowledge transfer. However, everyone has been a newbie in the company once. Shadow their work and ask questions during the first few days or weeks. Majority of the senior team members will be more than willing to share their domain expertise.
- Search for Improvement Areas: As the senior team members have been there for a while, they give an accurate picture of the issues. Ask the areas that they want to see improvements in. However, their opinions can be biased. Ensure you think things through objectively before taking those points up with the higher authorities.
- Acknowledge Team Expertise: You are wrong to think that you won the position because you are better than the senior team members. They might never have wanted to run between stakeholder meetings, look after project costs, or devote time to people management. So, never underestimate or take them for granted. Acknowledge their expertise and let them know how much you value their contribution. After all, managers should use their managerial abilities to make the most out of the team potentials.
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