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 Approach the relationship without preconceived notions of how flexible or rigid, outdated, or in need of training this person is.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


How to Manage Gen Y Staff: One Thing You Didn’t Expect

Managing Millennials is not a simple task. Read on to discover the one thing you didn’t expect on how to manage Gen Y staff!

The story of the Red Shoe Movement is not logical. I didn’t sit down to think about what the Red Shoe Movement was going to be or how we would become a valuable professional development platform. (Much less how to manage Gen Y staff!) When I first blurted out the idea at my book launch and then on national TV, I had no clue what we were going to do. I just knew it was due time for a women supporting women platform geared to Latinas and other multicultural women.

Book Presentation at McNally Jackson boostore: Find Your Inner Red Shoes, by Mariela Dabbah | Find Your Inner Red Shoes book presentation

Book Presentation at McNally Jackson boostore: Find Your Inner Red Shoes, by Mariela Dabbah

Then, I was approached by Teresa Correa, who immediately appointed herself as Head of Ambassadors. That’s really how it all started.

Read Managing Generation Y in the Workplace: How Can Managers Motivate Their Employees?
Teresa Correa, RSM Head of Ambassadors, who at the time worked in Consumer Insights at Avon

Teresa Correa, RSM Head of Ambassadors, who at the time worked in Consumer Insights at Avon

She was in her late twenties, with a sharp career focus and a hunger to empower women, particularly young Latinas. The Red Shoe Movement took over her life outside her full time job in Consumer Insights at Avon. (She is now Manager Global Consumer Insights at Coty, Inc.)

As I would soon discover, every time I talked about the newly-born platform, young, motivated, passionate women would ask to be part of it. I just connected them with Teresa and she built the tribe.

A few months after we first met, Teresa announced that the new team of  Ambassadors she had built was meeting for a drink. I was thrilled and still not paying much mind to the fact that I would very soon have to figure out how to manage Gen Y since all ambassadors belonged to that generation. My head of Ambassadors had everything under control.

When the Red Shoe Movement first started, I had to figure out how to manage Gen Y. Little did I know that they would end up managing me!

How to manage Gen Y in the workplace when they are actually the ones managing you

The group of six professional women met for the first time in October 2012. All in their twenties, all working full time jobs in large corporations, they decided early on that we needed to put on an event. A day when our motto of women empowering women for career success would become a reality. I had toyed with the idea of an event, but we were literally only a few months old and I had to focus on other priorities. (Like putting the cart behind the horse, for example!) But this group of women convinced me that the event would be our official launch, and I believed them.

Read 10 Successful Tactics for Motivating Millennials at Work
Learning how to manage Gen Y staff at the First meeting ever of potential group of RSM Ambassadors.

Learning how to manage Gen Y staff at the First meeting ever of potential group of RSM Ambassadors.

RSM Ambassadors weekly meetings | How to manage Gen Y Staff

RSM Ambassadors weekly meetings

Meeting weekly over a five-month period, and true to our motto of mutual support, our team put together the first RSM Signature Event at the New York Times. And what an event that was. They had planned for 120 participants and we had over 230 people show up!

Under Teresa’s leadership, the team assembled 24 additional volunteers for the event, and together they ran it as if they were trained PR pros from a top firm. I remember some of the most senior attendees commenting that they had never seen an event run so smoothly. The most amazing part? It was all run by volunteers who had never before done something like that!

The RSM Signature Event launched at the New York Times. The senior Ambassadors convened a total of 24 other volunteer Millennials for the event.

The RSM Signature Event launched at the New York Times. The senior Ambassadors convened a total of 24 other volunteer Millennials for the event.


You’d never expect that how to manage Gen Y will become how to let them manage you! This might as well be the Yes Generation of entrepreneurs.

The RSM Signature Event launched at the New York Times. The senior Ambassadors convened a total of 24 other volunteer Millennials for the event.

To tell you the truth, I practically showed up as a guest. They had made all the arrangements with the New York Times Conference Center and our sponsors, figured out a very complex registration system, and even created the Power Point presentation that was projected during the opening and closing portions of the evening. So the question remains, how to manage Millennials when they seem to know how to manage anything you throw at them?

It’s not so much about how to manage Gen Y staff as it is about how to keep them engaged with your organization over a long period of time

What I learned in the process is that this is a generation of entrepreneurs. Of people used to coalescing over a project as if they were a film crew. They come together, get to know each other, use their best talents, reach out to their vast networks to find any additional skills needed, and boom! The project isn’t as mind boggling as it might have seemed to someone of an earlier generation. They are able to work the same way they used to play online — with a remote cyber-buddy they probably never met before. At the core, this might be the Yes generation. There’s nothing they can’t do. Or that they think they can’t do. That’s the power you want to harvest.

Granted, not everyone in this generation is so entrepreneurial and self-directed. For those cases, I suggest your read my blogs Managing Generation Y in the Workplace and 10 Successful Tactics for Motivating Millennials in the Workplace, both of which are chock full of specific tactics that will engage them and keep them around.

What I learned in the process of figuring out how to manage Millennials

It’s the excitement of finding a Teresa Correa or an Annerys Rodriguez (our current Head of Ambassadors, who was part of the initial team of six and works in Diversity & Inclusion at MetLife) that can hide the fact that like all generations, Millennials are not a monolithic group.

Annerys Rodriguez, current RSM Head of Ambassadors, works full time in Diversity and Inclusion at MetLife

Annerys Rodriguez, current RSM Head of Ambassadors, works full time in Diversity and Inclusion at MetLife

Generalizations will only take you so far. So along the way, you will find that how to manage Gen Y staff depends on the makeup of your team. The younger, early twenties members may naturally need more supervision and handholding to complete their tasks on time. As they cross their mid-decade they may have tested their skills enough to have gained a lot more confidence and the necessary work-ethic to carry out their responsibilities to the very end. Judge each case individually, but use this as a guideline. If you don’t tell them they can’t do it, they won’t believe it themselves. And they will surprise you every time.

Engaging, retaining and promoting talent

Engaging, retaining and promoting talent

Gen Y in the Workplace: Leveraging Its Tech-Savvy

What are the concerns with Gen Y in the Workplace? How can these generational differences be leveraged? Experts shared with us their experiences and perspectives.

by Rachelle Dragani

Generational Differences

The crowd that gathered to discuss Gen Y in the Workplace: Leveraging Its Tech-Savvy to Achieve Efficiencies in Your Company at a recent Red Shoe Movement Signature event could be divided into two categories:

Gen Y in the Workplace: Leveraging Its Tech-Savvy

Gen Y in the Workplace: Leveraging Its Tech-Savvy

1) The Gen Y-ers, those born after 1980, eager to use social media and the latest digital technology to promote their companies, build loyal clients and foster worldwide connections, all from their phones or computers.

2) The Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers, those born between early 1960s to the early 1980s and between 1946 and 1964, respectively, with more years of work experience under their belts and an understanding of the power that technology can have in making or breaking a company.

Regardless of the generational differences between these two groups, their shared primary challenge was keeping up with the rapidly evolving tech scene. Generation X and Baby Boomers were eager to leverage the increasing size of Generation Y in the workplace as a conduit to improve efficiencies in their companies.

The concerns with Gen Y in the Wokplace

“I understand that’s the way everything is moving, and I know there is a lot to learn from Gen Y in the workplace,” said Kendra Bradley from Siempre Mujer. “But we weren’t brought up with iPhones and this much technology, and it is really frustrating to try desperately to keep up with this whole other world.”

Some Generation X/Baby Boomers were also frustrated that there were no universal laws for using social media. They felt it was tough for them to learn more about the positive benefits of new technology when protocols differed so greatly between industries.

Samantha Heron, who works in finance at MetLife, pointed out that in an industry as private as finance, almost all information needs to be kept under wraps. Even a seemingly innocent Tweet such as “Got takeout in the office cuz I’m working super late tonight on a big project!!!” could tip off competitors or reporters that something big – an acquisition, executive turnover, a new account – could be in the works.  Once information slips, a possible deal could go south.

Gen Y in the Workplace: Helping them to see value of face-to-face connection

Gen Y in the Workplace - Understanding Generational Differences

Gen Y in the Workplace – Understanding Generational Differences

Kary Takach spoke up about her experiences in the hospitality industry at Andaz Wall Street. She understood the importance of embracing technology in her industry, especially to help foster loyalty among guests and ensure they choose her hotel again when they come back into town. She noted, though, that in a business like hospitality, sometimes nothing can replace the comfort that comes with face-to-face interaction. It’s a reminder that she has had to give to some of her younger, iPhone-addicted employees.

The Gen Y-ers in the room were receptive to Gen X /Baby Boomers’ concerns. As a matter of fact. a few even acknowledged how overwhelmed they often feel with the daily appearance of new tech apps, even though they’ve grown up embracing the latest gadgets, platforms and ways to connect.

What Gen Y in the workplace can learn: Appropriate use of social media

The Gen Y-ers present also agreed that for every brilliant Tweet or Facebook post, there are probably ten more useless ones, and sorting through the sludge of the Internet can be exhausting.   A few admitted that they and their colleagues had some harsh reality checks when one of their seemingly innocent social media posts spun out of their control, garnering unwanted attention.

Despite any generational differences, both groups at the event agreed that each generation had plenty to learn from the other. The more experienced professionals could help the Gen Y-ers (especially the ones that thought Tweeting out a picture of their morning coffee was a productive use of time) determine what belonged on public social media accounts, and what information needed to be kept private. It’s a lesson that too many young workers have had to learn the hard way. They agreed that older colleagues shouldn’t be afraid to create very specific rules about what can and can’t be shared publicly, and then enforce punishments if certain info is still leaked.

What Gen X/Baby Boomers can learn from Gen Y-ers

It was generally accepted that Gen Y-ers now had a chance to become the experts in their places of work. They could help their colleagues understand the ins and outs of managing a social media account, discover compelling and informational online contacts and dream up new ways to reach out to clients via the web— All invaluable strategies that should be enough to set generational differences aside as they could greatly benefit the bottom line of the organization.

Most importantly, “neither side can profess to know it all,” said one of the Experts who asked to remain anonymous.  “I know I’m on top of my game for what I do, but someone can easily come up behind me representing the new pinnacle of talent and achievement,” she pointed out. “I know I need to take a step back and see how Gen Y-ers can help me in my long-term growth, just as I am teaching them. One of the hardest parts is making your own standards and rules for what gets put out there, and sometimes you just have to step away from the computer and figure it all out.”

Managing Generation Y in the Workplace: How Can Managers Motivate Their Employees?

The secrets to managing Gen Y in the workplace

The secrets to managing Gen Y in the workplace

When it comes to managing Generation Y in the Workplace (Millennials), one of the most frequently asked questions is: How can managers motivate their employees? —These young, hyper-connected, multi-screened, don’t-want-to-pay-my-dues employees who share the workspace (when they agree to come to the office) with older generations.

Funny enough I don’t seem to have a problem with this idiosyncratic lot. They are smart, exciting, have an unprecedented ability to learn new things fast, to be in touch with what’s going on in the world, and a passion for making an impact in society. And their connectivity doesn’t only mean their smart phones are an extension of their arms, it also means they are global citizens who don’t see race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or even geography the same way their parents do. They have a deeper sense of how connected all humanity is, how one’s actions have an effect in someone else’s life, even when that someone lives thousands of miles away.

The 6 Secrets to Managing Generation Y in the Workplace

There are six secrets to effectively managing Generation Y in the workplace:

  1. Leverage all they have to offer and allow them to impact you and the way you work rather than trying to push them to conform to what the workplace looked like when they entered it.
  2. Learn from them as much as you want them to learn from you.
  3. Give them their own project with specific guidelines on outcomes and deadlines and then give them as much freedom to manage the project as possible. Have checkpoints to make sure they are on task but avoid being the helicopter parent they grew up with.
  4. Invite them to offer their own ideas on how things can be done differently to obtain better results, and then implement as many of their ideas as feasible.
  5. Provide as much work flexibility as possible. If there’s no compelling argument to have them physically in the office 9:00-5:00 PM, let them work from wherever they want.
  6. Treat them with the respect they expect and deserve.
Generation Y in the workforce

4 Key strategies to Engage Generation Y in the workforce

How can managers motivate their employees and strategies that work

But we all know that managing Generation Y in the workplace is only part of the deal. What’s more challenging is to motivate these employees, to engage them with your company in such a powerful way that they don’t feel the need to jump to your competition. It’s been said that loyalty is not one of this generation’s strong suits but I disagree. Here are a four key strategies that have worked wonders for me.

  1. Find out what their personal and their professional goals are and make sure to align them with the projects you assign to them. It is in this alignment that you’ll tap into their passion and their loyalty for the work they do and by extension, to you.
  2. Offer public recognition for their contributions and whenever possible, offer additional awards such as certificates, special opportunities, etc. as part of such recognition.
  3. Provide plum opportunities or assignments to those in your team who excel at what they do. It could be to meet executives in the organization that can function as career sponsors, or attendance to conferences your employees are particularly interested in (even when they don’t relate to the work they do for you.)
  4. Support the causes that are important to them. This is a generation that is involved in many causes outside work. Find a way to tap into that involvement by either providing financial support, time off to attend to activities related to that cause, or even having your company partner with some of the organizations your employees value most.

The best part about working with Millennials is that they are hard working, creative and passionate people. When you start implementing these very simple strategies suddenly managing Generation Y in the workplace becomes the most rewarding part of your day. Suddenly you realize that you have been looking at this group the wrong way and that they are your most loyal employees, your best brand Ambassadors who will promote your company without you even asking.

Generation Y in the Workplace – Understanding Millennials

By Janice Estrada, International HR at Daymon Worldwide. 

Millennials in the workplace

Millennials in the workplace

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]t the recent Red Shoe Movement event in New York City, I was given the opportunity to participate as one of the RSM Event Ambassadors where I co-facilitated, alongside Annerys Rodriguez a Mutual Mentoring Circle around “Understanding Millennials in the Workplace.”

The circle was a safe environment where two groups of about 25 people each were able to have a casual and informal dialogue about their experiences and insights about the topic. The group consisted of “Experts” and “Explorers”. (For our events we consider Experts those individuals who have knowledge and experience on a specific topic and Explorers those who are interested in better understanding that same topic.)

It was clear that all participants came to this circle to learn and share perspectives about the different generations and to avoid miscommunication when it came to younger workers.

What is really a Millennial? Someone asked.

According to Lily Benjamin, an Expert, Millennials —also known as Generation Y— are individuals who were born between 1980 and 2000. They might also be further divided into two groups those of 18 – 24 years old, and those older than 25. “Millennials are considered the smartest generation in the history of America, they value meaningful work, autonomy, teamwork, and are able to multitech and multitask. The Millennials comprise 34% of today’s workforce and that number is projected to increase to 48% by 2020,” Benjamin explained.

Some of the concerns on Generation Y expressed by Explorers included:

  • It’s harder to enforce policies on this generation than in previous ones.
  • They have a reputation for not being very loyal to their employer.
  • They text rather than use proper email communication. They are also prompt with their responses as they seek immediate gratification, and texting provides such an immediate response within their groups.

    Tapping into the Energy of Millennials

    Tapping into the Energy of Millennials

The top advice for Generation Y in the Workplace offered by the Experts in the group included:

  • It’s important to set clear expectations to keep this group engaged. (As part of their upbringing they are used to have structure and expectations set for them by their parents, teachers, coaches, etc.) Their sense of structure differs from the one of other generations, so clarity on deliverables, deadline, and processes is needed.
  • Let them have an opinion. Millennials will work 16 hours a day if they feel their voice matters. They also don’t see their bosses as the expert because they have an ocean of information at their fingertips. They are great researchers and seek information on everything, so they have pretty strong and well-based opinions.
  • Make sure they feel their work is meaningful. They want to make a difference!
  • Set the bar high and they’ll rise to it. And if they don’t, you may want to reassess what is missing, skills, motivation, or attitude?

One of the Experts, who is a member of the generation in question, pointed out that Millennials are people from 13 to 33 years of age and that that is a big bracket. She reminded the group that we should all try to avoid blanket statements that put large groups of people in the same bucket and that participants should use all the distinctions shared during the conversation as guiding points in dealing with the group while making allowances for individual differences.