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Teenage Employees Take Some Careful Nurturing

Reno Gazette-Journal, December 1996

Who is your teenage employee? Many teenage employees seem to instinctively know how to deal with people and administration issues. They seem to understand good grooming, and nuances. Others on the other hand have not had an easy time of things. They did not learn life skills at home or at school. Plus they are shy, insecure, self-conscious and they have trouble reading people.

Who are you? You are a mentor, a teacher, a manager. You have the power to make an incredible difference in your employee's life. Our first job, first job interview, how people treat us makes a big impact on our future interactions. What were your best and worst experiences working as a teenager? How did these experiences make you feel and how did you use them?

Many teenagers have not yet added analytical or investigative thinking. They may have to be told how to do something several times in different ways before they really grasp the concept. The more gentle you are with your explanation and examples the easier and quicker they will learn and the more enthusiastically they will want to learn more. What are some of the key areas to pay attention to in coaching your teenage employees?

1.  It all starts with the interview process. Give the interviewee your complete attention, use eye contact, sit at their level, make sure your whole body is facing them. Ask them probing questions that begin with 'how', 'why', 'what', 'when' and 'who'.

2.  What are your expectations? What messages do you send? Some teenagers of various backgrounds do not have a lot of experience reading friendly faces. Catch them doing well. Several studies have been conducted where the low IQ children were told they were smart and the high IQ children were told they were learning challenged. Guess what happened? Right, the low IQ children increased their IQ scores and the high IQ children's scores decreased.

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3.  Do you discuss people skills with your employees? Let them know they are part of a team. Compliment your employees, treat them with respect. Talk to them about current issues such as sexual harassment, customer relations, and positive language.

4.  Be gentle when you discuss Etiquette and Grooming issues. If they have not received this information at home, or you know they cannot afford soap or clothes, be creative and non-judgmental.

5.  Knowledge is Power. Give them the information they need to have to do their job well. Give them knowledge about the business; knowledge about security; What is their Job Description? How often will they be reviewed? Will their decisions be backed?

6.  Keep your employees busy. Boredom is a killer. Give your employees a list of things they can do when things are quiet. Let them know that standing around and talking to friends or just leaning against the wall is sending a negative message. Ask them what they think when they see unoccupied employees when they go into different businesses. Keeping your employees occupied looks good to your customers and it teaches your teenagers how to take initiative. It also builds their self-esteem and their self-confidence.

If you think you are at the end of your rope, take a deep breath and remember how you wanted people to treat you when you were a teenager.

Copyright 1988 | Dynamic Impressions- Kathleen Dickinson, CGA

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All Rights Reserved | Dynamic Impressions-Kathleen Dickinson, CGA                                                       Created By Greg Stover