Today I had my interview for a job that I had no idea about (my uncle told me to meet XYZ person, and my uncle himself didn't know anything about the position available).
So I went to the office of XYZ and met with him and my interview was quite a good one and he said that the job was mine, if I wanted.
(BTW. XYZ is the CEO of the company).

The job is a type of managerial position and I will be responsible for one sole department. The person who is currently managing the department is not responsible enough, so although he is quite senior to me (professionally and age-wise) he will be under my authority and will report to me.
I will have to manage all the employees of the department, making sure they arrive on time and do their work properly. I will also be responsible for making sure the client's complaints are resolved in a timely manner.
I will also have to manage other couple of things.

This all sounds good, but the problem is that this is going to be my first proper job (I have done odd jobs before). I am a 22 years old male and I have just completed my bachelors.
I have no real experience in the market or of having managerial position.
The department employees have an average age of 30 years so I don't think they will like to take orders from someone of my age.
Also, XYZ told me that I can't be their friend so I will have to keep my distance to maintain my position and respect.
I think the previous head of the department will obviously dislike me as I am kind-of replacing him. Also, other employees may generally dislike me due to my age and position.

I need some guidelines on how to handle this position. I am thinking of giving a formal introduction of myself and explaining to them that what I am here to do, what are my responsibilities and what I expect from them.
Is this the best way to go or should I just quietly sit at my desk on the first day and meet employees one-by-one?

  • And now we launch a new star manager... – lambdapool May 12 '16 at 14:36

Yes, this is an extremely overwhelming position to be in - but you wouldn't be there unless XYZ felt you had reason to be there.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • XYZ is right - these people are your staff, and not your friends. Efforts to be chummy can seriously backfire as it can seem like you're just trying to ingratiate yourself. That's not to say you can't be friendly towards them (in fact, you don't want to be cold and distant) - but don't offer to take them down the pub or round to your house for a barbecue - at least, not until you've been there and have their respect as a manager/leader (years from now - not months).
  • Use their experience - ask for their advice. You weren't hired for your experience, you were hired to lead.
  • Learn what they do - not just from them, but from outside reading.
  • You make the decisions. Being indecisive is worse than making the wrong choice. They might not always agree with a decision, but if you'd already listened to their advice and discussed your reasons with the most senior/experienced members, they should go with it.
  • You are responsible for their stuff-ups - don't complain to your management that your team are making mistakes (unless it is chronic - in which case, start disciplinary action).
  • Credit them for their work to your management - your team's successes reflect on you, and you don't need to hog the credit for that to happen.
  • Protect your team from crap from above - this is one of the most important jobs of a manager/leader - and sometimes one of the hardest.
  • Don't try to force them to work they way you want - observe how they work and then nudge them towards your ideas. Lead by example, and let them see the improvement for themselves.

Trust will build and it will get easier.

  • That's sound advice :) – Vietnhi Phuvan May 1 '14 at 0:46
  • although, not everyone seems to be in agreement - I wish downvoters would leave comments – HorusKol May 1 '14 at 0:48
  • @HorusKol Thank you for such a well explained answer. Much appreciated. You have very strong points there and I'll keep them in mind. Yes, my biggest fear is they will think of me a puppet of XYZ - which I really don't want. I want them to respect me for me and my authority. I am expecting full-on hostility from them in the start. – Shajee Afzal May 1 '14 at 10:35
  • @ShajeeAfzal - if you go in expecting hostility, then you will simply be priming yourself to see it when it isn't there, or amplify minor disgruntlements into something more major. Yes, there will be friction - be prepared to deal with it, but go in with the expectation that these are experienced professionals and they want to do the best job they can. – HorusKol May 1 '14 at 23:32

Now you know how a newly minted second lieutenant feels when she gets to meet her platoon including the first sergeant with 20 years of experience for the first time :) You are going to love learning on the fly, because you have no other choice. Speak with authority and make as many mistakes as early and as quickly as you can, so that you learn your job quickly and early. Make your decisions with confidence, but be open to reversing them if you sense they are not working out as you expect or wish. You bring in a new perspective as an outsider, a young person and a smart young person. And that perspective is the asset that no one else in the firm has and that you bring to the firm. Make the most of that perspective :)

Again, establish your own authority early on, because you don't want to be perceived as the CEO's pet - stand-in, maybe. Pet or puppet, never. And establish your authority, even if you have nothing behind it but your the power of own voice - newly minted second lieutenants do that all the time :) And of course, laying out your expectations clearly and firmly, however you want to do it, is part and parcel of how you establish your own authority.

Don't let their age, experience and competence intimidate you. Because if you let their age, experience and competence intimidate you, the group is not functioning well and they become a weakness rather than a strength for the entire group. If you leverage their age, experience and competence instead to help you make sounder decisions, then they become a strength for the group as a whole. Any hostility they feel toward you is aimed at the newbie who has yet to prove herself. Believe in yourself, be confident in yourself, and prove yourself from Day One :) Learn from your newbie mistakes, just don't let any of your newbie mistakes get to your head and play games with your mind :)

If you do it right, there are two things that should come through: (1) your respect for their age, experience and competence; (2) their respect for your authority and your decision-making.

Again, good luck to you :)


Your problem is not very big problem,it is quite a common problem happened with every fresher or new comer.Your job is a managerial job so you have to manage all works comes under the management.You got the nice opportunity in very less age,not everyone got opportunity like this.You just start to introduce yourself with everyone and you will feel better when you are frank with everyone.Make yourself confident to do all the work.You will have to start your work with the bottom of the core.In the starting show your full effort and devotion towards your work.Keep yourself fresh and frank to the environment so that you can easily mesh up with the company and do your work easily.


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