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Entrepreneurs Panel

Tony Caldeira
Brian Hay
Richard O'Sullivan
Jeremy Roberts
Laura Tenison
David Pollock
Michael Oliver
Julie Meyer
Charlie Mullins
Steve Purdham
Jennie Johnson
Debbie Pierce

Managing someone more experienced

Charlie Mullins

Former plumber Charlie Mullins founded Pimlico Plumbers in 1979 with a second hand van and a bag of tools. The business is now part of the Pimlico Group and provides a 24 hour, 365 days a year service, which completes more than 1,750 jobs per week. It operates out of a 30,000 square foot headquarters in Sail Street, near Westminster.

Question: 

I have a new senior manager about to start who is ten years older than me and very experienced. I have never had to manage someone so much more experienced than me before. Advice please.

Answer: 

First of all it’s true, there is no substitute for experience so the objective must be to get the most out of your new manager.

I assume you employed them on the basis that you saw something that you thought would add to your operation, so stick with your instincts – they are what’s got you this far.

Just because someone’s ten years older than you, and has more experience, it doesn’t mean that they are not going to be prepared to listen to you and give you the respect you require to run your business efficiently.

The more you worry about what this new, older employee is thinking, the more likely you will be to give off signals that you are unsure of what you are talking about.

The only way you can function effectively as a leader is to have the respect of your team, no matter what ages they are.

Don’t be afraid to confidently issue instructions to your new manager, as you would with any other staff.

But, by the same token, don’t be afraid, or intimidated, if advice is offered. Sometimes it takes a great leader to follow good advice.

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