LEADERSHIP / JUN. 27, 2014
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How to Gain Respect as a Young Executive

We are facing generation conflicts in the workplace. People are working later in their lives than ever, with a change in dynamic regarding age gaps. It doesn't help that there are stereotypes associated with each age group. It's important that respect is given where it's deserved, not based on age.

Unfortunately, age creates some preconceived ideas and biases. Although duties will vary, an executive generally runs an organisation. They're a leader, gaining the respect of those around them.

Respect is something that takes time to earn. As a young executive, you're viewed as less experienced. You know you're more than qualified, so you will want to earn respect. There's many ways in which you can gain respect quickly.

Positives Associated With Young Executives

Many companies see various positives in terms of hiring young executives. Young executives bring a lot to the table. The following are some of these pros:

  1. Eager to Learn and Grow: Yes, younger executives do not have as much experience, but they are eager to learn and develop. They're forward-thinking, looking towards the future. This willingness to learn brings positive energy and actions. 
  2. Innovative Thinking: Young minds have new, fresh ideas. They're eager for the future, delivering ideas with enthusiasm. They bring new perspectives, offering new angles and ideas. 
  3. Financial: Young executives do not generally ask for a large salary. This lower price tag is a positive to many companies. As long as they're paid fairly, young executives are happy to gain experience. Pay will generally increase once more experience is solidified. 

Gaining Respect as a Young Executive

If you have worked hard to accomplish your goals so far, show everyone what you're all about. It may not seem fair, but you will need to earn respect from some. The best thing you can do is be yourself. The person you are, got you to the position you're in today. You deserve to be there, reflect that. The following are ways in which you can gain respect as a young executive:

  1. Give It Your All: Make sure you're completing all tasks to the best of your ability. You may think that some tasks are uneventful, but they're part of the job. Show you're giving it your all. Don't just complete tasks, provide ideas and get involved. 
  2. Ask For Feedback: You want to show your eagerness to learn. You do not want to appear as a know-it-all. Perhaps certain issues will be brought to your attention that could substantially improve the company. Feedback and suggestions should always be welcome. The best way to learn and improve is through the honest suggestions of others. 
  3. You Earned It: You gained your position for a reason, you're qualified and capable. Simply show people that you can do the job, exceeding their expectations. This will come naturally to you. Simply do your job as you were intended to do. If you're successful within your position, respect will follow. 
  4. Be Positive: It becomes harder to respect a highly negative person. You do not want to give the wrong impression. Maintain a positive attitude and voice. Your positive energy will rub off on others, creating a positive image for yourself. 
  5. Help Others: If there's some way that you can assist another employee, do so. Teamwork builds respect. You may have a skill or knowledge that someone else needs to complete a project. This is especially important if this individual is part of your team. A team is only as strong as it's individual parts. If you help someone out, they are more prone to help you down the road as well. 
  6. Be Consistent: You cannot say one thing and do another. Do not send mixed messages; keep your messages and actions consistent. Don't take a specific suggestion and agree, then do nothing. If you say you're taking suggestions to make improvements, then do so. 
  7. Have Fun: Don't be afraid to have a little fun with your employees. As long as everyone is being productive, there's no reason to not make your work environment more enjoyable. Organise a couple staff lunches each month, or organise a night out with your team. You can be an executive and a friendly, fun person. Make employees feel comfortable at work, they're more likely to respect you. 

If you are a young executive, check out YPO (Young Presidents' Organisation). The organisation was founded in 1950 by a young president, which has now grown to 20,000 young executives across the globe. They support growth with the mission:  'Better Leaders Through Education and Idea Exchange'.

As mentioned, the key is being yourself. Follow some of the suggestions above, including some suggestions from your co-workers. It is easy to gain respect when you already deserve it. 

Photo credit: Flickr

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