Kerri Rogan manages a 16-strong, predominantly male team. Many of its members are in their 40s and 50s and have a high level of technical expertise. Rogan, head of reliability improvement for London Underground, is just 30.
Some, she says, may have been threatened by her youth and gender, but she adds that by showing people she is "here to help, [she] quickly gets rid of the threat."
"You need to build personal relationships," says Rogan, who adds that her role is not to "challenge and counter their technical knowledge," but to "bring pace and energy and seek [their] counsel."
Young managers can struggle to establish credibility and get more experienced colleagues on side. According to Peter Cappelli, professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton business school and co-author of "Managing the Older Worker: How to prepare for the new organizational order," a younger supervisor must engage older workers as partners. "[They] need to recognize that their older subordinates have a great deal of expertise," he says, "and understand that their job [as a manager] is not executing tasks, but setting direction."