Young Leader Leading A Team of Senior Members
“I am aware that I’m surrounded by people who feel that they could do the job better”
First things first. Leadership is not about knowledge.
Subject matter expertise is not a prerequisite for good leadership. Sure, its important, especially in middle level leadership position but its not a precondition.
So, if I a young leader assumes his authority, comes from his knowledge and then tries to establish his/her authority with while leading senior members, he/she will constantly be playing catch up and be setting up themselves to constantly play catch up.
This one particular line from the trailer of THE CROWN web series (about the life of Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) from the 1940s) is very intriguing.
“I am aware that I’m surrounded by people who feel that they could do the job better; strong people with powerful characters, but for better or worse the crown has landed on my head”
A few things a young leader can keep in mind when leading a team of senior members maybe;
1. BE AUTHENTIC: Posturing by way of using the position to establish authority will never earn true respect. When a leader is true to him or herself interacts with the team from their true nature earns the team’s respect in the long run. Trying to be someone else never works. Authenticity also comes from transparency and open sharing while only withholding that information that is not meant to be shared with the team. Knowledge is power here when shared not when kept a secret.
2. BE INCLUSIVE: I have seen many young leaders, using their position and decision making authority as a tool to counterbalance the lack of seniority of age or knowledge. They assume being unilateral in decision making and keeping the team guessing, they are demonstrating power, when in fact they are not earning true respect. By being consultative, a leader shows respect for the knowledge and experience of the team and the team reciprocates with equal or more respect for the leader.
3. BE TRUSTWORTHY: What works for Peter should work for Paul. This might sound counter-intuitive as senior members may demand differential treatment from the rest of the team. But respect should not be confused with favouritism. When a leader holds his or her ground and applies the same rules to everyone irrespective of the person’s seniority, then he might face some heat initially but if they hold on to their standards consistently, soon, the senior members will learn the respect the leader based on what he/she DEMONSTRATES and only based on POSITION.
In leadership POSITION IS NOT POTENTIAL, ONLY BEHAVIOUR IS!