How do you lead colleagues with more experience?

Listen-to-your-elders-adviceFirst, people with experience don’t always knows what is right. But if they are successful now, they have likely experienced being wrong – and learned from it.

Second, everyone has more experience on their job than you – after all they do it every day. 

Third, your experience in life is different than your colleagues.  Your background and education will be different than others.  Together, you can make your combined experience work to be mutually beneficial.

Finally, as a leader your job is not to do your colleagues job, or tell them how do to their job.  The leader’s job is to set the stage so that people of all experience levels can excel at their job.

Here are four areas for every leader to focus on, regardless of their level of experience:

Engage in relationship building with your colleagues.  All work takes place with people.  Even the most automated business has people running the automated processes.  The foundation of all leadership is the relationship between the leader and the team.

“If you believe business is built on relationships, make building them your business.” – Scott Stratten

Enlighten yourself and your colleagues on the strengths of each individual.  You have strengths and each person on your team has strengths.  It is through the joining of these strengths that success comes.

“The strength of the team is each individual member.  The strength of each member is the team.” – Phil Jackson

Equip your colleagues with the tools and support they need to perform their role to the fullest.  Invest your time in providing opportunities for them to succeed. Make sure they have the best training, technology, and time management (priorities) you can provide.

“We must open the doors of opportunity. But we must also equip our people to walk through those doors.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

 Empower your colleagues to succeed.  When you have engaged, enlightened and equipped your team, the best thing you can do is get out of the way. 

 Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” – John Maxwell