Managing People with More Expertise than you

When I decided to switch my job and join a totally new domain to work into, I was very excited. Excited with the thought of learning something new, experiencing a different environment, a different work culture. New people and new challenges. How exciting it sounds? Isn’t it? Within 1 week of my joining I discovered that most of the people whom I had to manage had more experience than me and more knowledgeable.

A person who is supposed to manage everyone should have detailed knowledge about that particular work and domain because if anyone has any question or any decision is to be taken, team will look up to that person. Similar situation was with me and naturally I panicked. The conversations in meetings were difficult to understand. Even after trying so hard there was always some gap in the learning. Team somewhere was feeling cheated by the organization because a person with less experience and zero domain knowledge was there for decision making and leading everyone. No offense, but it was difficult to get accepted by team. I missed my old company and regretted joining here.

After fighting with myself and going into constant headache I managed to calm myself, channelize my full energy in positive direction, regain my composure and took a fresh start. I re-visited my memory lane – my interview day when I was selected, my last jobs and things I achieved there, challenges which I had faced in my life and have successfully gone through. After all this, I got real evaluation about myself.

I may be new to the domain. I may be having less experience than the people I have to manage but, these were not the criteria of my selection for the profile. The selection was based on my own skills and my record from the past. Every challenge which I had faced till now were not known to me so basically I can overcome difficult situations no matter how surprisingly they occur. This self-analysis did worked for me and helped me to take a fresh start again.

But the other challenge was still open that was managing high experienced team members. And, the steps which I followed to deal with this were quite basic.

  1. Accept what you are: Keeping ego aside I accepted my weak areas and open heartily asked for support whenever required. Instead of giving any incorrect suggestion, spent few minutes in discussing with your supervisor or someone who has prior knowledge. This not only will avoid wrong information to get passed but also help to gain faith from team.
  2. Spent time with team apart from regular work: Sit with team members in leisure time, tea time and talk. Ask questions even if they sound silly. Provide support to team in tasks which are not part of your roles and responsibilities. This will improve your understanding and team bonding.
  3. Take Feedback: Be open to everyone for feedback. Ask for opinions from team and outside team. Convert their feedback into your action steps.
  4. Appreciate your team: Whenever there is any productive suggestion from team which works for you – take the chance and thank the person. Appreciate the help you receive time to time. This will bring confidence amongst the team. Show your respect in any manner you can.

Leading a team which has more knowledgeable people can be tough but it can be converted into the golden opportunity as well. Recognizing people’s work and accepting them can actually turn the situation around and make the same job quite cheerful and pleasant. Allowing team to step forward and participate in your decision making not only makes them feel important but builds their confidence in you. Gradually, you will inevitably turn into a strong leader.

– Sristi Singh (Blogger)

(NoticeAll the content shared in the blog and its articles are copyrighted by MyTeaTimeThoughts team and its guest writers. Any use of the content outside this blog without prior written permission of MyTeaTimeThoughts is strictly prohibited.)

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