Q. I’d love to get some advice on management. At my company we recently hired a new (male) intern who is only a few years younger than I am.We’re still building the foundation of a marketing team at our startup so this is a crucial time for us, and I am happy to be given this opportunity to grow into a managerial role.
- What sort of skill set should I be developing?
- What kind of guidance and mentorship should I be provided to my younger colleagues?
- How can I be friendly and supportive while still firm when it comes to younger colleague meeting my expectations of how projects should be completed?
A. I have been sharing answers and insight from three 40-something women, all successful in careers that required managing others with grace under pressure. The third response is from a 40-something woman who has worked in managerial positions in sports marketing, advertising, a tech start-up and a non-profit.
1. What sort of skill set should I be developing?
Learn how to deliver both good and bad news as learning opportunities for the person on the receiving end. Keep the fine line between friendship and subordinate just that – a line. Resist the urge to gossip — that is never positive.
2. What kind of guidance and mentorship should I be provided to my younger colleagues?
Demonstrate that you expect everyone to pull their own weight, yourself included. Everyone does have a specific role. Don’t be a micro-manager. Provide enough context and direction for younger colleagues to understand what is needed and let them know that if they have questions they CAN come to you.
Be a resource for everything related to working at your company and in your field or be able to direct them to a resource.
3. How can I be friendly and supportive while still firm when it comes to younger colleague meeting my expectations of how projects should be completed?
Again this comes back to role clarity. Setting expectations for work style and work product up front is critical.