Newsletter – February 27, 2013

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Feeling awkward about your age, a killer interview question, and more

Hello friends,

Is that spring in the air, or just the sweet smell of good management? (And if The Management Center had a cologne, what would it smell like?)

Leaving that question aside – for now – we have a new batch of resources that we hope you’ll find helpful.

1.  Managing people older or more experienced than you

A reader asked us: “I’ve recently started managing a staff member with two decades more experience than me. I feel awkward about being younger, and it makes me hesitant to give her feedback or be as direct as I probably should be. Is there some way of getting over that discomfort?”

We hear versions of this all the time from managers, so you’re not alone. It really can feel weird to manage people who have been working longer than you – but it doesn’t need to. We’ve posted our thoughts on how to overcome this awkwardness here.

2. How to appear more authoritative at work

Speaking of managing people older or more experienced than you, it will help to make sure you’re coming across as someone comfortable with authority (even if you’re secretly not!). This U.S. News & World Report piece (from our own Alison Green) recommends ways to do that, including getting aligned with your boss behind the scenes, knowing what to say when you don’t know an answer, not getting defensive, and more.

3. Finding out what you really want to know in interviews

You might already know that you shouldn’t just run down a list of interview questions and instead should follow up on candidates’ answers to probe for more details … but do you know how exactly to do that? This article from Lou Adler is a great illustration of how to follow up … and follow up … and then follow up some more. All told, Adler lists 19 follow-up questions to ask after one single, easy-to-remember question. Interview like this, and you should get a much greater understanding of how your candidates truly operate.

4. Who do you need to hire?

No matter how well you interview, you’ll have trouble finding top performers if you haven’t gotten real clarity about who you’re looking for. If you start by thinking critically about what skills and qualities you truly need, you’ll be able to more effectively describe the job for candidates – and spot the right person when you see them. Our “figuring out the role” sample and worksheet will walk you through the process of getting a clear picture of your ideal candidate.

5. Never forget about an important email again

We love this tip (2015 edit: this article is no longer available online) from Tiana Epps-Johnson and the New Organizing Institute about Boomerang, a web browser plug-in that will keep you from forgetting important emails. You can schedule a time for an email to bump back to the top of your in-box so you remember to follow up, send your reminders if you haven’t heard back about an email yet, and much more. If you have a full inbox, it’s worth checking out.

We hope you find these resources helpful!

Best,

Jerry Hauser and Alison Green
The Management Center

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