What to do when leading people who are more experienced than you?


You're the leader of a team, but you have the least number of years of experience. What do you do? I'm Claire, I'm the CEO of Know Your Team, a leadership upskilling platform.

And I'll tell you, it's a hard challenge to feel like, my goodness, you have people who quote, unquote, know more things than you but that's exactly why we have these manager tips. We release these periodically as a way to give back to our manager community and so if you're not yet already subscribed to our manager tips, be sure to do that. What do you exactly do when you are leading a team or you've got folks who are more experienced than you?

There are really two things that, in fact, you're going to want to redefine for yourself and for your team. The first is that you're going to want to redefine what success for you as a leader really looks like, and that is your success as a leader has nothing to do with the number of years that you've spent previously in this role. Rather, your success as a leader is truly contingent on how well you're able to enable the team to produce the outcomes that each individual wouldn't be able to do on their own otherwise and so you have to really take a minute to, I think, sometimes take stock of that.

I think so oftentimes, common leadership knowledge sort of appoints the person who's been the most senior, the person who has, you know, the longest resume, et cetera to the top, so to speak. But again, you want to redefine success here because none of those things actually ultimately have the greatest direct impact on being able to deliver those results. Then the second thing you're gonna wanna do is actually redefine what success looks like together with your team. In other words, rather than just saying, "Here are the goals that we're trying to hit, here's the mandate that we received from senior leadership," you want to invite, especially your most experienced team members to actually help set that direction with you.

Now, this can feel sometimes a little daunting, like, well, wait a second, does this mean that I'm sort of admitting that I don't know what I'm doing? No, no, no, no, no. This is about saying, Hey, I value your expertise in what you're bringing to the table and I really want to include and incorporate that as a part of our direction, as a part of the goals that we set. I'd like to craft this together. So you're defining success together and incorporating the expertise and domain knowledge of your most experienced team members, rather than either trying to pretend that the expertise doesn't exist or trying to posture and pretend somehow that you have it, right? It's no, no, no. Let's be transparent here.

Again, going back actually to that first redefinition, really your job as a leader is more of an orchestrator, right? You're not actually the one playing the instrument, nor do you need to know how to play all the instruments in the orchestra, right? You are that conductor that is enabling the sound to all come together cohesively. So keep that in mind, right? When you are feeling a bit in doubt, when you are feeling as though you need to have all the answers, remind yourself, you do not, right? Recenter on those two definitions of first and foremost, redefining what it means to be a successful leader and then also redefining success together with your team.

If you're looking for more ways to do this, and actually tactically, right? How do I actually enable best results for my team? Or how do I actually more tactically really figure out how to define success together? Then again, you're gonna wanna dive into our leadership upskilling platform. Definitely check it out at KnowYourTeam.com 'cause we give you literally the handbook on how to do this.

So excited for you to benefit from that and look forward to sharing more tips with you next time.

Keep on watching…

How do I give feedback to some who isn't pleasant to work with?

How do I give feedback to some who isn't pleasant to work with? Start with these teps Subscribe here to catch more...

2 overlooked remote leadership best practices

What are the two most often overlooked remote leadership best practices? Don't miss these two critical remote...

What to do when leading people who are more experienced than you?

What to do when leading people who are more experienced than you? Focus on redefining 2 things. Subscribe here to...