Young Managers of Older Employees – 4 Secrets to Success!

Are you among the group of young managers whose reports are much older than you? Then, these 4 secrets will make you wildly successful (and popular!)

Two things often happen when millennial managers are in charge of older employees. One, young managers feel they are not taken seriously. Two, they feel like they have to pretend to know things they don’t. The truth is that when you are a young employee and you have little life and work experience, the idea that you have to fully fit in your managerial role from day one can be daunting. It can make you behave in ways that are completely unproductive and that will likely achieve the opposite results than what you seek. (Like constantly questioning your judgement, for instance.)

So to help you avoid falling into a trap, here are:

Young Managers of Older Employees – 4 Secrets to Succeed from day one

Young Managers of Older Employees - 4 Secrets to Success! Read on! | Featured here, Jenny Gracia a young manager, and a RSM Ambassador at a Red Shoe Movement event.

Featured here, Jenny Gracia a young manager, and a RSM Ambassador at a Red Shoe Movement event.

  • Accept that you’ve got what it takes. If you were given a managerial position, it’s because your boss saw something in you besides a degree that qualifies you for the job. You’ve probably had enough volunteer experience with the Peace Corps or helping Habitat for Humanity build homes in Guatemala. Or you led enough student councils, schools newspapers, and debate clubs. Or you might have created your own small business, led a fundraising effort for a school in Africa, or simply impressed your boss with your passion for your community. Bottom line, as a young manager, you bring to the table specific skills, common sense, problem solving, and very possibly, an ability to inspire others. That’s why you were chosen. Embrace it. Remind yourself of your value daily. Create a mantra around it so you can repeat it in times of self-doubt. And believe me, you’ll have a few of those along the way. (I.e.: “I’m a young manager and I’ve got what it takes to succeed.”)
  • Get to know each individual. Leave any preconceived notions at the door. Establish individual relationships with your older reports so that you learn as much as possible about each one of them. Approach the relationship without preconceived notions of how flexible or rigid, outdated, or in need of training this person is. The reality is that people will often surprise you. Show your true self, be transparent in your purpose and you’ll get the best out of every one. And while you’re at it, check with each person the preferred method of communication (email, text, phone, in person, etc.) to be as effective as possible when communicating with your older reports. Successful young managers are known for their flexibility and this includes, using a variety of communication vehicles to deliver their messages.
  • Be humble and assertive at the same time. If you master this fine line you’ll have your job cut out for you. Be humble in asking for the input of your older employees. They are knowledgeable about the job, the company and the industry. Consulting with them will save you headaches, time, and money. The more you make them feel included in the decision-making process, the better they’ll respond when you make a decision. Be assertive in making decisions after weighting pros and cons. Managers can have a democratic style but in the end a decision needs to be made and the responsibility of the outcome will fall on your shoulders. So make a decision behind which you can stand.

    The 4 Secrets to Success for Young Managers of Older Employees | Mindalia de Jesus, a RSM Ambassador and young manager, featured at a RSM Event.

    Mindalia de Jesus, a RSM Ambassador and young manager, featured at a RSM Event.

  • Be the young manager everyone wishes their kids were. I’m always thrilled to meet amazingly bright young managers who are wise and mature beyond their years. They project a sense of calm and collectedness that mark them as clear leaders of their organizations. They inspire others to do their best, to give their all. They make everyone wish they had been that well-put-together at that young age, they make everyone wish their own kids were this smart. Be that person. How? By following the previous three secrets. And by:
  • Asking lots of questions
  • Encouraging curiosity, exploration, risk-taking
  • Acknowledging that you don’t know everything and you’re always learning
  • Readily admitting mistakes
  • Honestly praising the work of your team
  • Offering recognition for older employees who do a great job, and
  • Making people feel significant about their contributions and their role in your team.

Introduce a mentorship program: Whether its the older employee’s mentoring younger ones or interns. You can even partner with organizations and schools, if the employees are willing. Not only is their experience being put to good use, but the company would also build some good karma. – American Express Open Forum

Young Managers of Older Employees 4 Secrets to Success: If you are a young manager, you were chosen for a reason.  Own the gifts you bring to the table!

Own the gifts you bring to the table!

If you love learning and you love a challenge being a millennial manager of older employees can be an extremely rewarding experience. If you take it seriously, it will propel your career forward at amazing speed.

Share your own advice here. What works and what doesn’t work for you? What suggestions do you have for your colleagues?

Inspirational Quote | Young Managers of Older Employees - 4 Secrets to Succeed from day one

Inspirational Quote | Young Managers of Older Employees – 4 Secrets to Succeed from day one


10 ways to say no without saying no

Saying no is hard for most women and even harder for some cultural groups who put a lot of value on being liked.

For women and for Latinas in particular, who grew up valuing personal relationships and hearing how important it was to look beautiful, to smile, and be pleasing to others so that everyone would like them,  saying no can equate to social suicide. So, why would you do it? I’m there with you. From turning down presentation opportunities to a night out with friends saying no doesn’t come easy for me either.

But you know what? I’ve learned a long time ago that “no” is the most powerful word in my vocabulary. It helps me stay true to my priorities and avoid the many distractions I can easily fall pray to every time I say “yes” to things that take my focus away. You want to have less stress? You want to integrate work and life? Learn to say no often!

The secret to saying no and feeling great about it is two-fold. On the one hand it helps to say no without saying the word “no.”  On the other hand you must take the time to hear the request, evaluate how it fits within your priorities, and offer an alternative that works better for you. That means that if your conditions are met, you can say yes.

You will see in the “10 ways to say no without saying no” that I include here, that  many of them begin with a “yes.”  The “yes”, however,  comes with conditions that make the other person re-think their request. The goal in all instances is to either get the other person to pull  back their request on their own or to adjust their ask in order to meet your conditions.

Saying NO: Discover the 10 Effective Ways to Say NO

1Yes, and re-prioritize

The fastest way to reduce stress is to say NO | Discover the 10 ways to say no without saying no

Saying no can help you remain focus on your priorities and have less stress in your life.

“Yes! Now tell me which of these five priorities should I drop?”

If your boss asks you to do something and you know you’ll be unable to do that plus what you’re already doing, ask them how they prefer for you to manage the other priorities. That may help change their mind or, get you out of something else.

2Yes. With these conditions

“Yes, sure! But I can only do it next week.” Or with the help of an additional person, or after you finish something else you are doing. The idea is that you can do it only if certain conditions are met. It’s up to you to come up with conditions you know the other person won’t be able to meet. (If you know they have a deadline and you can do it after the deadline.)

3Yes. In exchange I’ll need this
“Yes, sure! I’d love to help your team finish the project. But if I stay tonight, I won’t be here tomorrow morning to help you run the event.” Or any other trade you deem fit. Again, the goal is that if you are going to do something you really don’t want or don’t have time to do, you won’t do something else that affects that person.

Here's a great article about work-life balance /integration.

4Yes. In exchange you have to do this for me

“Yes, sure! I’d love to help you with this. The only thing is that if I do X you’ll have to do Y for me.”

Here you are asking the other person to take on something you have to do and will now drop in order to help them with their project. For example: I’ll write the report for the committee and in exchange you’ll prepare the Power Point for the meeting on Tuesday. If they don’t agree with your exchange, you can easily say: “Then, I’m sorry but I’m going to have to turn you down, because I don’t have time to do both things.”

10 ways to say no and feel great about it | Read everything about the 10 ways to say no without saying no

Practice this ten ways to say no and see your career flourish

5Yes. Plus additional compensation
“Yes, sure! I’d love to take on John’s responsibilities. It will mean that I have to work weekends for two months to do my job and finish his project. So can we talk about how I’d be compensated for that additional time?”

The goal here is to make it clear that you are willing to step in but want to be compensated for the effort it will take. This strategy only works in certain situations, not when you are expected to cover a team member who’s temporarily absent. But keep it in mind for when the situation presents itself.

6Flattered. But will pass

“I’m flattered you thought of me for this. Unfortunately, I’m overcommitted right now, so I’ll have to pass.” A simple, short answer. You can leave it here or do what’s suggested in #7.

7Flattered. Will recommend someone

“I’m flattered but I have a previous commitment. However, I’d like to suggest someone who’d be great for this.” When you recommend someone who can do the job you are solving the other person’s problem. So instead of focusing on your “no” they move on. Not only will they forget faster that you said “no,” but they’ll also be grateful for your help.

Here are some additional ways to say no by Adam Grant

8Flattered. Couldn’t give it my best

“Thank you for thinking of me for this opportunity. Unfortunately, I’m so overcommitted that I wouldn’t be able to give my best to the project. So, I’ll have to pass this time.” Again you can end it there or you can suggest someone else who would do a great job.

Saying no frequently, enables you to say yes to what really matters | Discover the 10 ways to say no without saying no

Saying no frequently, enables you to say yes to what matters

9Flattered. I could train someone else

“Thank you for thinking of me! I would love to do it! Unfortunately right now, I have no time to take it on and do a good job. But I’d be happy to train someone else to do it.” You’re exhibiting good will, team spirit, and appreciation for the opportunity, so in the future they think of you again.

10Let me check my calendar

“I’d love to do it. Let me check my calendar to make sure I have the time.” This is a wonderful way to avoid feeling forced to give an immediate response. (Which more often than not would be a “yes.”) After you take the time to think thoroughly about what was asked of you, you can come back with a reason why you can’t take on one more responsibility, you’re committed for that day, etc.

Believe me, if you start practicing these 10 ways of saying no and you combine them with a smile and a positive body language, you’ll soon feel great about turning down things that swallow your valuable time but are not a priority for your career. You can practice them at home too. You’ll be surprised at how effective the strategy is!

And if you want direct coaching from me and from our team of internationally renowned experts, plus an amazing range of leadership development resources, join the Step Up Program.  You. Amplified!

And if you want direct coaching from Mariela Dabbah and from her team of internationally renowned experts, plus an amazing range of leadership development resources, join the Step Up Program.  You. Amplified!

RSM Step Up Program

How engaging men in your career will take you to the next level!

There’s no question that engaging men in your career must be a top priority if you want to move up the ladder.

In the last few years, a lot has been said about the need for women to have career sponsors and not only mentors. I’d venture to say that this is even truer for multicultural talent. Being on the radar of career sponsors goes a long way when it comes to being tapped for powerful opportunities. But you shouldn’t wait until a career sponsor comes along. You should be doing amazing things that make you visible to them. Like what? Well, like seeking cross-functional opportunities to shine, stretching yourself and leaving a great impression. Through it all you should be engaging men in your career. Some of these men will become your sponsors, others your mentors, and others will just be amazing colleagues that will make your journey a lot more enjoyable.

Gerard Borda on engaging men in women's initiatives | Discover how engaging men in your career will take you to the next level!

Gerard Borda on engaging men in women’s initiatives

I had a chance to talk to Gerard Borda, Head of Talent Management for Veritiv, an industry-leading B2B distributor of packaging, print, facility, publishing and print management solutions in North America, and former VP Leadership Development at Sun Trust Bank. A man who’s very interested in Diversity and Inclusion and who’s been a long-term strategic partner of women in the organizations where he’s worked. We talked about engaging men in your career as one of the best ways to achieve your goals.

What’s the best way for a woman to get you to support her career goals?

I’d like to have interacted with her prior to her request. It’s always better if I have seen her work or if I have worked with her in some way. It’s easier to support someone who shows initiative to learn more about my work in the organization. And it doesn’t have to be something formal. There are so many opportunities to interact with someone who works in your own organization. You could do it at a town hall meeting. It could be casual, like for example coming up to me to ask me about what I’m working on, or if I did a presentation and they come up afterwards to comment on something I said. It shows initiative and that’s important.

The science behind engaging men gender initiatives.

What doesn’t work at engaging men in your career?

Desperation. It’s okay to be unhappy in your job, I get that. But when someone comes to me because they are drowning in their career and they try to reach out to me solely as a life vest, that’s a turn off.

And also just because something is urgent on their calendar, it doesn’t mean it’s urgent on mine. If someone I don’t know approaches me to meet immediately, I might postpone the appointment on purpose to see how they react to the unexpected. I want to know if they appear frustrated or upset because of the last minute change.  Then I wait to see if they reschedule or follow up. If they don’t, it lets me see that it wasn’t that important to them after all, so why should it be important to me.

Men and women together for success. Discover how engaging men in your career will take you to the next level!

Get on the radar of career sponsors and make sure you engage men in your career

When do you feel you’re most effective as a partner of Corporate-sponsored women initiatives?

Like any corporate initiative, I have to see that there is clarity of goals, and understand how they see my role. I want to be clear about what they are trying to accomplish, the way in which they plan to do it, and make sure I believe it.

But it’s very much influenced by the organization because we all have very limited time. When an initiative is supported by the C-suite, then people are committed. But when you are being told this is something you have to do, (and it’s just the flavor of the month,) an executive sponsor will only give it little time. It’s the difference between compliance and advocacy.

What makes you want to get involved?

I believe in inclusion. I’ve been the beneficiary of inclusion and have seen first hand the effect of being a minority. I get that the world isn’t fair. I get that some people experience privilege and that their networks give them a leg up. But I’ve also seen that that privilege doesn’t guarantee anything.

What do you do to show your support for a woman’s career ambitions?

I will help a woman see the realities of the organization and ask her if she’s willing to adapt to that reality. The truth is that the organization is not going to change for one individual. It only changes over time. I help people define their values and priorities given where they are at in their lives and career.  I then offer my perspective on the values and priorities of the organization. Using these two points, I help them try to navigate the different opportunities available.

Discover how engaging men in your career will take you to the next level! Men wearing red shoes to show support for women's career success

These are some of the amazing men who show their support for women’s career advancement by wearing red shoes on Tuesdays! Identify your allies in your organization.

What suggestions do you have for women who are seeking the support of the male executives in the organization?

If you’re looking for an advocate for your career, that’s something you don’t formally ask for. It starts with your performance. Executives recognize good performance. You get on their radar because you make their success synonymous with your success.

In addition, women need to know what they want and what is required by the company to achieve what they want. If the role requires you to relocate, and work late nights, you better figure out how you will do that if that’s your priority.

On the other hand, executives need to evaluate if that position really requires relocation, working late nights, etc., or if they are not being creative enough to figure out a different way to get the job done. There are some roles that have requirements that are non-negotiable (for instance, sales people need to be in front of client,) but oftentimes that’s not the case. The reality may be that the organization is not progressive enough to adjust to the woman’s life stage and offer alternatives to avoid losing that talent.

Want to learn more about your communication styles? Don't miss this great quiz!
Step Up Program. Be you amplified. Join the Step Up Program and make your career goals a reality!

Join the Step Up Program and make your career goals a reality! Read on to discover what it’s all about!! Click here!

What suggestions do you have for women’s assertiveness not to be misconstrued as aggressiveness?

Look for other assertive women who are viewed positively and observe how they communicate, how they strategize inside and outside of a meeting to win sponsorship for their ideas. Being assertive means to put forth your point of view in a convincing way to influence your stakeholders. Women have to find their voice and use it effectively. I find they listen more actively and have greater collaboration tendencies, two skills, particularly useful in the world we live in. So they can use those skills to gain support for their ideas.

3 Sure-Fire Negotiating Tips for Women to Get Hired

Three amazing negotiating tips that will turn you into an irresistible candidate!

It’s ironic that we still need to discuss negotiating tips for women when women have a ton of advantages over men when it comes to negotiation. We are great listeners, we have a cooperative style, and we are naturally equipped with the most powerful tool of all – empathy!

The problem is that, unless you are ultra aware of your advantages and you learn how to use them for your own benefit, they are worthless. Keep them front and center and combine them with these powerful negotiating tips, and you’ll never complain that you make less than your male counterpart again.

3 Sure-Fire Negotiating Tips for Women

1Showing (not telling) your value

Angie was looking for a job as director of training and development in order to leave her current position. She felt that her employer lacked real commitment to professional development of women employees. A friend referred her to an opening as a manager of training and development, which was below her current pay scale. But because it was at a company Angie really liked, she applied nevertheless.

More negotiating salary tips you can't miss!

She went through three levels of interviews, and at every step she asked lots of questions regarding the company’s vision and the short- and long-term goals for retention and promotion of female personnel. Armed with this information, Angie offered valuable suggestions. She also brought up potential challenges that the company might face, along with ways to overcome them.

Show the value you bring to the table - 3 Sure-Fire Negotiating Tips for Women

Show the value you bring to the table
Photo taken at NAHJ workshop conducted by Mariela Dabbah

Through it all, Angie remained honest, was generous with her ideas, and avoided attaching herself to the outcome of the interview process, which enabled her to be authentic. She knew that the best way to start a new relationship with a potential employer was by being herself.

As a result, the interviewers were so impressed with Angie that they decided to create a new job description so that they could hire her as a director, rather than as a manager. This would enable them to pay her what she really deserved. So before Angie had even begun to negotiate her salary, the hiring team already knew they needed to sweeten their offer to entice her to leave her current job and come to work for them.

2Projecting your experience into your future potential

It’s a well-known fact that women candidates are more often judged on their experience while men are judged on their potential. So what’s a woman to do during the interview process to set up the stage in her favor?

Lily Benjamin, VP Global Talent Management and D&I PVH Corp., suggests that you integrate your past experience into concrete examples that demonstrate the depth and breadth of that experience. Choose examples that show how flexible you are during periods of change and ambiguity. And then take it all into the future to paint a clear picture of where you could take your skills next. What you could do for this organization to help them achieve their goals. How you are willing to take risks and are ready to embrace new challenging assignments.

3 Sure-Fire Negotiating Tips for Women | Lily Benjamin, VP Global Taent Management and D&I at PVH Corp.

Negotiating tips from one of the top leaders in Talent Management

Benjamin also point out the need to promote yourself healthily during the interview. And a good way to do so is by sharing the fact that you are a sought-after thought leader in your industry and within your organization. That you are the go-to person when a fresh perspective is needed to solve problems, develop a new product, identify a new market, and so on. Or that you are frequently invited to present at industry conferences. In other words, that you are seen by others as a leader.

3Always connect yourself to the bottom line

In a recent article, Jeff Haden, Inc. Magazine Contributing Editor, suggests that the one question every interviewer should ask of their candidates is, “What one skill do you possess that will most benefit our bottom line?” Haden argues that this is a great conversation starter for the recruiter to build on rather than having a list of canned questions that don’t relate much to what they need for the open position. I completely agree that this question focuses attention in what really matters to the company.

Test your Negotiation Skills with this fun Quiz!
Connect your skills to the bottom line | 3 Sure-Fire Negotiating Tips for Women to Get Hired

Connect your skills to the bottom line
Photo Credit: Michaelangelo’s hands painting

Conversely, if even when you’re not asked the question directly, you prepare for the interview keeping it top of mind, you’ll position yourself as a much more attractive candidate. You do this by finding opportunities (and giving concrete examples) to confidently convey how your skills would positively affect the company’s bottom line. In the process you show your knowledge of the company’s business and an understanding that every function has a responsibility for driving profitability. And of course, the best way to really connect these dots is by learning as much as possible about the culture and what drives value for the company you’re interviewing with.

The reality is that the negotiation process starts with the first interview. When you present yourself as a knowledgeable candidate (and you prove it by showing your value rather than only talking about it), you substantially increase your negotiating position way before it’s time to discuss a concrete offer.

Find the support you need as you negotiate your next job offer or your next promotion in our community. Sign up for the Step Up Program today and be you, amplified!

International Women’s Day – 4 Steps to Success

This international women’s day do something specific to change your life. Follow these 4 steps to success and you’ll be more empowered than ever before!

I love having a day when all eyes are on women. But don’t forget that what really counts is what we do the rest of the year!

Since 1914, March 8th has been the official International Women’s Day, a day when the entire world celebrates our gender. Given the persistent salary gap, I welcome any opportunity to bring attention to what we need to do as a society to eradicate the gap. That’s why I celebrate this day with this special video. It’s the kickoff to a conversation that the Red Shoe Movement community keeps up year round.

This blog takes the idea shared in the video to the next level. So, I suggest you watch the video before you keep on reading.

International women’s Day Four steps to achieve success

In the video I invite you to think about what you really want to do in your professional career. And what is stopping you. It may seem like a simple question but far from it. I ask it myself every two or three years just to make sure I’m on the right path.

1Recognize once and for all that you can’t do it all

A sad effect of the ongoing debate about whether women can do it all or not, is that it confuses and stresses us out.

Women can do whatever they want but they can't do it all at once. Nobody Can. | International Women's Day

International Women’s Day quote by Mariela Dabbah

Admitting this will help you make peace with yourself. Choose what you want to do at each moment of your life. Give it priority. As the stage of your life changes, adjust your priority. Instead of trying to do everything at the same time, choose. And ask for help to fulfill everything else that’s outside your number one priority.

2Discover your long-term priority

You read correctly. It says “priority” and not “priorities.” Identifying what professional achievement you value most will enable you to focus on it. In turn, that will produce results faster than when you disperse your attention in several “priorities.”

So, if you haven’t done so yet, ask yourself these two questions:

What do I really want to do professionally? What do I want my most powerful contribution to be?

It may be a hard question to answer. More so if you are creative or have multiple interests or talents. How to decide what to choose? But hereby lies the secret of happiness and success. Only when you loose something can you gain something. And only when you stop doing something can you concentrate on doing what fulfills you the most.

Happy International Women's Day

Happy International Women’s Day

If you are really interested in exploring what really moves you, pick up a copy of Find Your Inner Red Shoes. You won’t regret it!

Once you answer these two questions the next step to achieve success is…

3Say “no” to almost everything

That’s right! If you don’t learn to say “no” to the activities and opportunities that don’t support your professional priority you run the risk of deluding your goal!

For women this is particularly hard because we are wired to please others and saying “no” comes at a cost. (This is also a characteristic of the Latino culture, so if you are a Latina, you face a double wamy in this department!)

Here’s a very unique selection of practical ideas to achieve life balance.

So for example, if you’ve decided that within five years you’ll become the best financial manager of your company, you’ll have to say “no” to meetings that are not directly aligned with your goal. Every time someone or something has a demand on your time, you’ll have to ask yourself: “Does this advance my priority or distracts me from achieving it?” Every time your answer is not a resounding, “Yes, it advances my priority,” you should politely decline.

Learn to say "no" frequently. It's the only way to focus on your priority and to see results.

International Women’s Month quote by Mariela Dabbah

And there are many ways of saying “no” without offending others: “I’d love to but I have a previous commitment,” “Let me check my calendar and I’ll get back to you…” What matters is that you practice saying “no” daily so you become increasingly comfortable and feel liberated when you do it!

4Moving into action

Being clear about your long-term priority allows you to ask daily:
“What is the most important thing right now?” Attention to the here and now enables us to move into action. And the truth is that just thinking about your priority and not putting it into action is worthless. In order for anything to happen, you need to do something every day that gets you closer to your long-term goal. When you focus on what is important now (an idea discussed in depth in Greg McKeown’s “Essentialism”) you will feel the peacefulness that clarity affords. And you’ll avoid the stress of pushing multiple priorities at the same time.

To achieve your success discover your inner red shoe with the Red Shoe Movement

To achieve your success discover your inner red shoe with the Red Shoe Movement

You can use the same 4-steps for success in all aspects of your life. Once you figure out the priority for each area you’ll feel more balanced and happy.

Take advantage of this International Women’s Day to do this exercise. I promise it will change your life!

And check out today the RSM Step Up Program if you want the coaching you need and a global community of professional women to support your goals!

The RSM Step Up Program. You Amplified!

The RSM Step Up Program. You Amplified!