How to be Successful as a Young Manager
Article by Alston Chiang, Practice Manager at Jobspring New York
Jobspring Partners is a staffing agency that only promotes from within, and moving from an entry-level employee to a manager can happen quickly, or it can take some time. In my case, it happened within a year and a half. The stages of growth are exciting and at times overwhelming as the job functionalities change drastically.
A year and a half ago I moved from San Francisco to New York City in nine days to open up a brand new recruiting team focused on UX, UI, and Product Management. I had to hire a sales team, train them, build a pipeline of business, and recruit candidates in a completely unknown market in a town that was foreign to me. My biggest insecurity was managing a staff that was my own age, and possibly even older than me. How would they respect me if they knew I was the same age as them? Could we have a relationship that went beyond peer to peer contact? Would they be motivated to perform?
Hire top tech talent for your team in New York today.
To facilitate this process, I came up with a few simple guidelines to ensure success:
1. Set the example – Sales is all about numbers. If you’re team is going to perform, you need to set the example on your own desk. This also means coming to work prepared and showing them how you want the job done. No one will take you seriously if you roll into work 15 minutes late with your shirt untucked.
2. Implement structures that are easy to follow – Hold them accountable for the goals that you set together. Make sure you and your team are actively tracking and discussing progress. Give feedback using concrete facts as opposed to generating feedback that comes from a personal or emotional place.
3. Empathize with your staff – You might be their age, but remember that you have more experience in the field. Use this experience to help guide them while using your age to relate to them on a personal, yet professional level.
Since implementing these guidelines, which actually weren’t that different than the guidelines that my first managers used back in San Francisco, I have been able to find success. Growing pains are common and normal being a new manager and the road certainly hasn’t been easy—people have come and gone just as stress and doubt have ebbed and flowed.
I’ve come to understand that age really is just a number, and that experience is what actually matters. Experience is what gets you promoted and age is an unrelated signifier. Success comes from vision; specifically, your vision to see goals, how to achieve those goals and build confidence based on experiences. Anyone who aims to succeed in their career listens to their mentors. A good mentor guides staff to inspire them to hit their goals.
Above all, I’ve discovered that success is relative. Some days success might mean that your team is dominating the competition, but other days it may mean that you accomplished a simple task. And that’s okay. As a young manager, I’m going through my own growing process and perhaps that has been the biggest success of all.
To this day I’m proud of myself for taking a huge cross-country leap to start my team here in New York. Never be afraid of an opportunity – especially an opportunity to challenge yourself.