When you work for a younger boss, you'll have to make some adjustments

When you work for a younger boss, you’ll have to make some adjustments
Image Credit: Christopher Lance

What have you always pictured your boss looking like? If you are anything like me, you’ve always pictured them as a grumpy old man. Or a grumpy old woman if you want to get all modern. However, there is one thing that I’ve never really pictured my boss as being – younger than I am! However, this is starting to happen. Firms are starting to put Gen-X folks into senior management positions. What should you do if this happens to you?

What’s Going On?

So just exactly how did you end up having the CIO job but working for someone who is younger than you are? It turns out that one of those natural generational shifts is currently underway. The baby boomers who have been running things are now starting to reach retirement age. What this means for firms is that they are starting to replace their leaving senior management with members of the next generation: Gen-X. The Gen-X’ers were born between 1965 and 1980. This switch is happening at a lot of firms that you may recognize: McDonalds, Harley Davison, Cisco, and Microsoft.

One of the reasons that firms are moving to put a younger generation of managers in charge of (you and) the company is because they are highly aware of what is coming their way. The next-next generation of workers has already entered the workplace: the millennials. This new batch of workers are looking for different things from their employers. What matters the most to them is flexibility. In order for them to remain at a job for any length of time, they are going to have to feel engaged in their job – they need to feel as though their actions count.

Another reason that firms are moving younger workers into senior management positions is because they are losing market share and they feel as though they need new thinking in order to turn things around. Both Harley Davison and McDonalds are currently dealing with declining market shares as their traditional customers become older. The firms are going to have to start to create products and services that appeal to younger customers and the firms appear to believe that they need younger management in order to make this happen.

What Will These New Leaders Be Doing?

As an IT leader who is in charge of an IT team, any time there is a change in your management, it may have an impact on your team’s ability to get work done. What this means for you is that you are going to have to understand what your new, younger, management is going to focusing on. If you can determine what they want to accomplish, then you can position your team to help them to be successful and hopefully you’ll get the support that you need.

One of the things that is going to distinguish this new crop of senior managers from the one that they are replacing is that they are willing to take more risks. They’ve all been raised around computers and so they are generally more tech savvy. What all of this means is that they tend to make decisions faster than the managers that they are replacing. What this means for you is that your team’s requests for resources and funding should get an answer quicker; however, I’m not saying that you’ll always get the answer that you want!

Finally, in order to work closely with your new younger boss, you need to understand what is going to be on their minds. One of the most important things is going to be the hiring process. Expect them to spend a great deal more time working with HR trying to find out ways to attract the best talent to join the company. It won’t stop there. Also expect your boss to be very focused on trying to figure out what the company is going to have to do in order to retain the talent that it has. As a manager of an IT team, this is good news for you!

What All Of This Means For You

The times they are a changing. As IT managers we may soon find ourselves in a position in which the boss that we’re working for is younger than us. At a number of firms, Gen-X staff are starting to be moved into senior management positions. Is this going to be a problem?

As IT managers we need to understand what is going on here. The markets that many firms are competing in are rapidly changing. This means that they feel that they need to have leaders who can more quickly change with the markets. Gen-X staff are starting to be placed in senior leadership roles. What you are going to discover is that what they focus on is going to be different from the management that they are replacing. Specifically, what is important to them will be staffing and keeping the staffing that they have. You should also notice that they react to market changes quicker and make decisions faster.

No, it may not be easy working for someone who is younger that you are – “that should be my job!” However, you will need to adapt to this new generation of management. It can be a very good thing for you because things will happen faster and you should be given a freer hand to focus on the needs of your team and keeping them together.

What All Of This Means For You

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: When your new younger manager gets appointed, what is the first thing that you think that you should do?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

How’s everything going for your team right now? I suspect that like most IT managers you’d say that everything is going “ok”. Yeah, yeah, things could be better, but they are not too bad. You and I both know that that’s an acceptable state to be in; however, you could be doing better. What you really want is for your team to be working together with a great deal of both energy and enthusiasm. What you need is a contest!

{ 0 comments }

Depending on when you show up for meetings, you may be wrecking everyone else's schedule

Depending on when you show up for meetings, you may be wrecking everyone else’s schedule
Image Credit: Thomas Hawk

So I’ve got a quick question for you: when you are invited to a meeting, what time do you show up for it? I guess that there are three possible answers to this question: either you show up early, you show up just as the meeting is starting, or you show up late. So which one it it? If you are one of those folks who is always showing up late for meetings, you may not be aware of the impact that you are having on the other people in that meeting and perhaps on your entire company.

What Happens When You Show Up Late To A Meeting

Every IT team has at least one member who is always late showing up for meetings. Is this person you? The reason that this person is showing up late is always a bit of a mystery no matter how good your IT manager skills are, perhaps another meeting ran over; however, the end result is always the same – a group of team members are required to sit around and kill time until this person shows up and the meeting can be started.

Studies have shown that approximately 37% of our meetings start late by at least 15 minutes or more. When someone is late for a meeting, the people who were sitting around waiting for them have now collectively wasted a great deal of time. Additionally, since the meeting started late, there is a good chance that it will end up running late and this will then snowball across the rest of the day and can end up effecting a lot of people who were never in the original meeting.

How big of a deal is this? It turns out that it’s actually a pretty big deal. The people who end up waiting for the person who is always late get put into a bad mood and this can hurt both their creativity and their job performance. 25% of the people who were interviewed about the problem said that they were frustrated when a coworker is 6-10 minutes late. 14% said that they lose concentration and the remaining ones said that they feel insulted, disrespected, and just plain mad.

What Can Be Done To Solve The Problem Of People Who Show Up Late

Ok, so no matter if it is you or someone else, when someone shows up late for meetings over and over it can have an impact on your IT team. You can’t let this situation just linger. You need use your IT manager training to take steps to address it and to improve the state of your team.

One thing that you can try to do is to apply social pressure to get the person to change their behavior. A way to go about doing this is to hold up starting a meeting until the latecomer finally shows up. The embarrassment of showing up for a meeting where everyone is just sitting there waiting for you (including the person running the meeting) can serve as a wake-up call to the offender.

Another effective approach is to start your meetings on time. If someone arrives late, refuse to bring them up to speed on what has already happened in the meeting. The result of this is that they are going to be placed into the uncomfortable situation where they are going to have to go talk with their peers after the meeting in order to find out what they missed. Additionally, creating meeting rules that tell everyone that it’s ok to leave a meeting if if does not end on time can help to keep everyone on schedule.

What All Of This Means For You

What a lot of IT managers don’t realize is that the meetings that we attend at work are all tied together and each meeting contributes to our IT team building. What this means is that if we start to show up late for a meeting, then we’ll cause a snowball effect to happen.

When we’re late to a meeting we end up wasting the time of everyone who had to wait for us to arrive. The meeting may now run late and this will cause problems throughout the company. We may also have angered the people who had to wait for us and they may be in a bad mood for the rest of the day. The best way to solve the problem of someone always showing up late to meetings is to sit down and have a talk with them. They may stop once they understand the impact that their actions are having.

No, having people arrive late at internal meetings is not the biggest thing in the world. However, this is something that can have an outsized impact on how productive a team is and the overall mood of everyone at work. Being aware of the issue and taking steps to start to deal with it is critical. As an IT manager you need to make sure that you are not the one that everyone is sitting around waiting for!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What do you think is the best way to tell someone that they need to stop being late to meetings?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

What have you always pictured your boss looking like? If you are anything like me, you’ve always pictured them as a grumpy old man. Or a grumpy old woman if you want to get all modern. However, there is one thing that I’ve never really pictured my boss as being – younger than I am! However, this is starting to happen. Firms are starting to put Gen-X folks into senior management positions. What should you do if this happens to you?

{ 0 comments }

It Turns Out That Likeability Does Matter For IT Managers

June 9, 2016

If I asked you what the most important characteristic of a successful IT manager was, what you tell me? I’m sure that some of you would think about your IT manager skills and then say “good decision making”, others would say “budgeting”, and so on. It turns out that you would all be wrong. It […]

Read the full article →

Do Emoticons Have Any Place In An IT Manager’s Emails?

May 26, 2016

So what kind of IT manager are you? Would you say that you have a lot of gravitas (i.e. you are cold and aloof)? Or are you warm and huggy type? I’d be willing to bet that most of us see ourselves falling somewhere in the middle of these two types of personalities. However, there’s […]

Read the full article →

How Do Women IT Managers Who Are Mothers Manage It All?

May 19, 2016

Not all IT managers are created equal. In fact, some are boys and some are girls. The girl IT managers more often than not have to use their IT manager skills to juggle a number of different responsibilities including being mothers. This is not an easy thing to do and there is no IT manager […]

Read the full article →

What IT Managers Can Learn From The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers

May 12, 2016

One of the biggest challenges that IT managers are facing is that they are now responsible for using their IT manager skills tomanage team members who are 18-34 years old. This is the millennial generation and the way that they like to learn and work is very, very different from everyone who has come before […]

Read the full article →

Building And Keeping Your Team In Difficult Times

May 5, 2016

I’ve got a quick question for you: how is your IT team doing? Do you have all of the staff that you need in order to accomplish everything that the company is asking you to do? Has anyone left lately? Do you have any funding for positions that you just have not been able to […]

Read the full article →

Why Doesn’t Zappos Need IT Managers?

April 28, 2016

Just exactly how secure do you feel in your job? Do you believe that you are using your IT manager skills to bring value to your employer? Most importantly – could they get along without you? I’d be willing to bet that most of us think that our IT manager training allows us to bring […]

Read the full article →

IT Managers Need To Decide: Should Their Millennials Stay Or Go?

April 21, 2016

Hey IT manager, I bet that you didn’t realize just exactly how big the group of millennials who are working for your company had gotten! It turns out that 18-34 year olds make up 34% of the U.S. job market – the biggest group out there. Next comes the Gen-Xers who make up 32% and […]

Read the full article →

Can IT Managers Be Too Sensitive?

April 14, 2016

As IT managers who are responsible for managing a team of diverse professions, we have been charged with finding ways to connect with our team. If you attend any IT manager training you will undoubtedly be told that you need to become more sensitive and do a better job of connecting with the members of […]

Read the full article →