Late career

Managers must also stay op top of their game in their late career

Managers entering their late career should focus on remaining relevant and competent. This requires, among other things, that they ensure that they develop their skills, says Director of IDA Learning Peter Leth.

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The managers of the Danish companies must not only take care of the employees' late career and thus try to retain as much qualified labor as possible in the workplace - they must also think about their own late career.

According to Peter Leth, who is the director of IDA Learning and an expert in management and competence development, managers' thoughts about late careers should mainly revolve around how they remain relevant and competent.

"Companies are currently clamoring for manpower and skills, especially within our member group, but in order to come into play, you need to stay relevant and up-to-date. We can see in several of our surveys that a great many of our members, including management members, retire involuntarily, and when we delve into why, it turns out that quite a few have neither focused on staying relevant nor on to develop the competencies. And the reality is that if you don't stay sharp, you can't expect people to use one," says Peter Leth.

Based on the mantra of lifelong learning, Peter Leth thinks so, and the best job guarantee managers can give themselves on the threshold of late career is to remain competent.

"As a manager, you have to continue, even in your late career, to develop, be curious and learn new things. This applies in a completely impractical way, among other things, in relation to IT and systems, where you have to keep up with the development and make sure you can master it - it also sends a signal that you are competent," says Peter Leth.

Read a book or participate in a webinar

In a busy everyday life, competence-developing courses and training programs can seem unmanageable to many managers. Therefore, it is important to remember that competence development is different and more than courses.

"The important thing is to keep going, have the antennae out and be curious about new trends. And competence development can also be reading a book, participating in a webinar, going to an event, listening to a podcast and networking both inside and outside the organization - and IDA actually has it all," points out Peter Leth.

Career advisor at IDA Morten Esmann Andersen believes that one very specific area where many senior managers should develop their skills is when it comes to managing younger employees.

"It is an area that many senior managers find difficult, so familiarizing yourself with that management practice is an obvious area to improve your skills in. Fundamentally, it is about gaining an understanding that many of the young people in the workplace have completely different preferences in working life than the senior managers themselves had when they were the same age. Many of the young people see the world differently from the previous generation, have a different attitude to work and require leadership in a different way," says Morten Esmann Andersen.

According to Peter Leth, managers' considerations about late career also depend on the mental state one is in.

"If you think: 'I'm so old now that it almost doesn't pay to develop any more - I'm going to retire soon anyway,' you have to ask yourself how attractive you are on the job market. If, on the other hand, you see yourself as someone with a lot to offer, a lot of strength and a lot of desire to learn new things, the starting point is completely different," emphasizes Peter Leth.

Identity associated with being a leader

For many managers, there is a great deal of identity associated with having management responsibility. According to Morten Esmann Andersen, this can especially become a challenge for those managers whose considerations about late career, for example, revolve around reducing working hours or completely dropping the managerial role to return to a specialist role.

“Many managers work a lot. Therefore, as a senior manager, you must consider whether it is something you can and want to continue with, or whether it is possible, for example, to continue in the leadership role, but with fewer hours, or to step into the role of a kind of lighthouse: The, which everyone asks when wise input is needed. However, my feeling is that most leaders, even when they have reached a certain age, enjoy being a leader and want to continue as long as possible to develop and achieve results through others. Perhaps also because the leadership identity can be difficult to put down," says Morten Esmann Andersen.

Peter Leth also encourages managers entering their late careers to be open to the fact that working life can consist of more than management.

"It might be an idea to also look in the direction of the many exciting job opportunities that do not involve management. Because management is not the only option, even if you have been a manager for many years. As great as it has been to work with management and set a direction, it can be just as meaningful for many to work in another position - and in the intersection between management and professionalism there is a large palette of possibilities," points out Peter Leth .

At the same time, both encourage the experienced managers, who in many situations are used to being alone with the responsibility and the decisions, to seek sparring for the difficult considerations about their own late career.

"Fortunately, the tendency for managers to fend for themselves is declining, and the managers aged 55 and over have all been in the labor market for so many years that they have experienced how management consulting, sparring, coaching and career development have begun to fill more and more. Everyone needs sparring for their management practices, and the questions about the late career are so difficult and crucial that managers should reach out for help - including from their immediate manager," says Morten Esmann Andersen.