How Managers Can Reinvent Themselves

Managers need to find ways to stay valuable as workplaces favor the young
Managers need to find ways to stay valuable as workplaces favor the young
Image Credit: moominsean

So is there any downside to becoming a manager? One possibility is the simple fact that it takes time. By the time most of us become managers, we’re not as young as we used to be. What this means is that we find ourselves in a workplace filled with younger people trying to use our manager skills to manage teams made up of younger people. All of sudden it can be very easy for us to start to feel as though we might not be keeping up. How can a manager deal with this situation?

The Challenge Of Being A Manager Who Is Older Than Everyone Else

Let’s face it: our workplace is becoming younger. What is going on is the companies that we work for are being disrupted by changes in technology and so they are responding by hiring younger workers who are more tech savvy. What all of this means for us managers is that we’re going to have to find ways to show our employers that we are still valuable to them – something that we don’t have any manager training on how to do. One of the questions that you need to be thinking about is if your employer would hire you all over again assuming that you had the skills that you currently have? If you want the answer to this question to be yes, then you’ve got some work to be doing. You are going to have to make sure that you have an upbeat attitude, fresh skills, and a personal style that is current.

One of the issues that we all deal with is just exactly when should we become more modern managers. It turns out that the answer is sooner rather than later. If you wait until layoffs have been announced, then it’s going to be too late for you. One way to stay on top of the changes that are happening in your workplace is to take the time to network with younger workers and show some curiosity about what they are working on. What this is going to require you to do is to make the effort to break out of your comfort zone and do some team building. What you need to understand is that if you are unable to react quickly to changes in the workplace, then it is going to become hard for you to keep up.

If you want to survive in today’s workplace, then you are going to have to create ties and collaborate with coworkers at all levels in the organization. This is important because you want people to speak up and make sure that your name is not on the layoff list. Additionally, if layoffs do come to your department, knowing people in other parts of the company means that you have a chance to transfer to a new job in a different division. We need to understand that some of us may be facing psychological roadblocks that prevent us from learning new skills or jobs. It can be all too easy for us to start to feel resentful if we find ourselves having to stretch to perform our job – I mean, we’ve been working here a long time already!

How To Remain Current

So how can you deal with this need to reinvent yourself in order to remain current? Some of us are going to be able to grow into new areas because we have created a new sense of purpose, a belief that making the effort to change is important for a reason that is special to us. Alternatively, some managers end up personalizing, customizing, and tweaking how they enter into new jobs in order to make it fit them better.

We can all do a better job of remaining current if we take the time to create our own personal style. Note that this does not mean that you are going to have to change your wardrobe or your appearance in order to look younger. What you are going to want to do is to choose clothing and accessories that are considered to be current; however, at the same time you are going to want to make sure that they fit your frame well and they end up looking good on you. For male managers, a more up-to-date look can be achieved by choosing trousers what have tapered legs. They can wear leather shoes with double monk straps instead of shoe laces. They can also select contemporary glasses with tortoiseshell or transparent frames.

When it comes time for women managers to make sure that their wardrobe is up-to-date they should get rid of any looks that might be considered to be outdated. A classic example would be a frumpy cardigan that is being worn over a dress. This can be replaced with a leather coat or an asymmetrical sweater. Both men and women might consider getting an Apple watch in order to come across as being more tech savvy. However, if you are much older than it’s going to look too much like you are trying to be young and you should stick with a classic watch with a leather band. If your hair has started to thin, you can color it to give it more depth and make it look thicker. Gray hair is ok as long as it is healthy and you take the time to style it in a contemporary way.

What All Of This Means For You

The world in which we are living continues to change rapidly around us. As managers we may take a look at our workplace and start to realize that we are now working with a much younger and more tech savvy group than we ever have before. What this means for us is that we need to make an effort to remain current for our current employer so that we will continue to appear to be valuable to them.

We need to understand that as technology changes sweep over our companies, they are responding by hiring younger workers who understand the new technology. This means that as managers we are going to be called on to keep our personal style and skills up-to-date. This is something that we need to start to do right away because if we wait, it may turn out to be too late for us. In order to remain relevant, we need to establish ties with people of all ages though out the company. This way we’ll be protected if there is a round of layoffs. In order to remain current, we have to make sure that we believe in ourselves. In order to stay current we’ll have to create our own personal style and update our wardrobe accordingly. We can also change our accessories and if needed, make changes to the way that we wear our hair.

Managers are a critical part of any organization. We are the ones who have the collective knowledge about how the company operates and why it operates that way. In order to make sure that our employers don’t forget how valuable we are, we need to transform ourselves. We have to start to appear to be as tech savvy as the young people that have just been hired. If we can do this, then we’ll have a long and successful career as a manager.

– 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 for you to create relationships with younger workers at your company?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So here’s something that can be difficult for us to deal with: what do you do when you are not #1? At work, I’m hoping, we all try hard to use our manager skills and do our best. However, there will be times that the people that we are working with, our peers, just simply outperform us. When this happens and when we become aware of it, what is a manager to do? Let us assume that giving up and going home is not an option. We’d like to hang on to our job, what should we do in this type of situation?