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PERCEPTION

…So this evening I came across a really interesting article on HBR about how younger people managers (under age 30) are perceived. It outlined common blind spots and challenges that said managers face. I am a people manager and under age 30, so naturally this was interesting to me. You can read the full article here, but some highlights are below:

~ Because of their shorter tenure, they lack in-depth knowledge that others in the organization possess.

  • True. My curve on solving problems is often lengthened as I take sub-optimal approaches to addressing them. Not on purpose, mind you. I’m just troubleshooting new things a lot for the first time.

~ Younger managers are more prone to make promises they can’t keep, not because they intentionally mislead others, but because others control outcomes.

  • ^It bugs me that I have done this, because I never did it as an individual contributor (my mantra has generally been under promise and over deliver). But in a few instances I have found myself falling short of deliverables I thought I could hit because I overestimated the impact I could have on contingent items that it turned out were outside my span of control.

~ Because they have faced fewer life challenges in their careers, younger leaders struggle to balance the need for results with appropriate concern for the needs of others. They are not fazed by the need to work 80-hour weeks and cannot understand why others complain. This is not because they are incapable of caring, but they tend to look past these issues instead of pausing to reflect and respond to the anxieties of others.

  • ^I actually don’t do this, but thought it was interesting because it’s 7:14 PM as I write this from work. The number of hours I work is more or less irrelevant to me (I just want to succeed), but I do have the self-awareness that most people want to put in 45-50 hours a week and go home.

Welcoming change. The younger leaders embraced change ~ possibly because their lack of experience causes them to be more optimistic about their proposals for change.

  • ^Yes on both embracing change and being an optimist (perhaps because I am a long standing sufferer of unrealistic expectations as opposed to an experience gap, though?).

Receptive to feedback. They are extremely open to feedback. They ask for feedback about their performance more often and seek ways to digest and implement the feedback.

  • ^This is my all-time favorite thing. I may or may not get everything right the first time… but if so I want to know about it so that I can get better.

Let me know what your thoughts were on the article in the comments section below. What else was interesting in this piece to you?

Best,

Rory

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