5 Ways to Manage Employees Who Have More Expertise Than You
by Sarah Davies
January 12 2018 - Being someone's manager when you know they have the skills and abilities required to be your manager can sometimes feel a little awkward. There's a reason why you were awarded your current position, and you'll need to remember that when things can sometimes feel strange.
The way you handle these employees needs to reflect their expertise. You can't come in and treat them the same way you'd treat a group of new hires - they won't feel happy about it, and this will disrupt their relationship with you as a leader. You might need to change the way you approach management when your team is a group of seasoned rock stars.
1. Cement Your Expertise In Your Position
If you're managing experienced employees, you aren't in a position to learn as you go. You might want to consider updating your management credentials, as well as following a few management blogs. Your employees will be able to tell if you're unsure of yourself, which can in turn make them unsure of you. You need to be confident in your ability to do your job, and you can't let the circumstances make you feel shaky. Do what you need to do to develop your management skills to the best of your ability.
2. Don't Overwhelm Them With Authority
One mistake that leaders often make with experienced employees is being too heavy handed. This is likely a result of feeling intimidated by the circumstances. A strong, authoritative approach won't be well received by your seasoned employees. They'll feel like you walked in distrusting them, and that's never a good way to begin a relationship. Be a leader, not a boss. Become a part of your team, rather than its overseer.
3. Empower Them
Recognizing the expertise of your employees is always the right thing to do. They really understand the complicated nuances of their positions, and they've been performing well. If they have a better way of doing things or the ability to call some of the shots on their own, let them. They'll appreciate you more for giving them the freedom to breathe when and where you can give it to them. It's a sign of respect, and your employees will be more likely to respect you in turn.
4. Learn From Them
Let them teach you a thing or two. They know you're the leader and that you have the final say. The best leaders do a lot of listening and understanding when they're determining how to move forward with a project. Let them tell you why they do things the way they do them. If they have expert advice to give to you, you'll only benefit from taking it. This exchange creates a friendly environment. Listening and learning will help you develop better communication within your team, allowing you to accomplish more together.
5. Balance Expectations With Rewards
Balancing expectations with rewards is a keys strategy for effective management. You need to be able to sail the ship smoothly if you want your team to receive you well. Make sure that you're encouraging them to use their employee perks after stressful projects have been completed. Celebrate their successes, recognize their accomplishments, and most importantly, be there to support them and contribute to their efforts during tough times.
Most importantly, don't expect everything to work perfectly from the very beginning. Like with managing any team, experienced or not, things might take a little while to work themselves out. Don't set unrealistic expectations for yourself or your team - just strive to be the best manager you can be.
About the author
Sarah Davies is a blogger focusing on careers, business and education topics. She is also a supporter of constant self-improvement, and believes that only through working on oneself can one achieve greatness in both personal and business life. Feel free to follow her on her Twitter: @sarah_davies_au.