A Young Project Managers Guide to Being Taken Seriously
Being young in a field that’s filled with older, more experienced individuals can be a huge challenge. But don’t let challenges scare you away from becoming the best project manager you can possibly be. With the right approach, you can improve your skillset, earn respect, and rise to the top – no matter your age.
The Challenge of Being Young
Being young has pros and cons in the business world. If you want to succeed, you have no choice but to tackle the challenges head-on. Here are two of the biggest issues you’ll deal with:
- Age stereotypes. Pop culture has painted the picture of today’s young people being lazy and irresponsible. By default, you’ll be associated with the shortcomings of your peers. This may lead others to doubt your ability to take on big projects and succeed.
- Lack of experience. Naturally, you don’t have a bunch of experience when you’re young. But the irony is that you need opportunities in order to become more experienced. Fighting for more opportunities is a huge challenge.
Every young professional faces these two challenges, regardless of the industry. As a project manager, you have to keep these age stereotypes and your lack of experience from holding you back. As difficult as it can be, the only choice is to push forward.
3 Ways to be Taken Seriously
In order to become successful as a young project manager, you have to put yourself in a position where others take you seriously. Here are some practical ways to start:
Speak With Confidence
When you have the opportunity to say something – whether via email, in a presentation, or in a one-on-one conversation with someone – make sure you’re speaking with confidence.
Eliminate words and phrases that make you sound weak and timid. Replace them with strong words that make you seem firm decisive.
Use the Right Tools
When you’re young, ambitious, and full of energy, it’s easy to push too hard. You feel like you have everything you need to succeed right there inside of you. The problem is, you don’t. As talented as you may be, you have shortcomings, weaknesses, and limitations. In addition to surrounding yourself with skilled people, be sure to arm yourself with tools that compensate for your weaknesses and address your biggest needs.
Take Viewpath’s project management solution, for example. When you arm yourself with a tool like this, you’re able to streamline time-consuming processes and spend more time in a hands-on capacity. Not only does this increase productivity, but it also helps you develop an image as someone who is fully engaged.
Learn to Take Criticism Well
Everyone gets criticized from time to time. How you respond to criticism is what will determine whether it helps or hurts your cause.
The effective project manager understands that criticisms aren’t personal attacks and uses them to improve future decisions and performance. The ineffective project manager gets defensive and tries to overcome criticism through excuses and retaliation. Those in the former category get far more respect from their peers and superiors.
Age is Just a Number
You’ll often hear people say something like “age is just a number.” This statement is typically used to reference the fact that people are still capable of being productive and effective, even as they enter the late decades of their lives.
The same could be said for those who are young. When you’re 20, 25, or 30, age is just a number. You shouldn’t let it hold you back from ambitiously pursuing your career goals and making a name for yourself. You can be taken seriously, but you have to begin by taking yourself seriously.