So, you’ve recently gotten a new boss. Then you discover they’re five, ten, maybe even twenty or more years younger than you. This is becoming a far more common occurrence and can be extremely frustrating. It can make you feel under appreciated. Why were you not considered for the role with more work experience? Or if you have less or different work experience than they have, how can you trust someone who has less LIFE experience to be in charge of you, and ultimately, tell you what to do? Changing your mindset on how you view your new boss by adapting, and utilizing effective communication, could allow you to cope with this adjustment and learn to respect them for an overall more positive work environment.
It’s possible that a younger boss could know what you think of them, and could then overcompensate or micromanage to prove their authority. It’s also possible that they are underqualified and under prepared for their new role. You’ve heard the worst about the younger generation, and they’ve heard the worst about you.
It’s also very possible the younger boss is excited for the challenge, knows that their older employees are watching their every move, and will work that much harder to do an excellent job and earn their trust and respect. You always have to remember: just because someone is younger than you don’t mean they’re not absolutely prepared, qualified, and competent enough to be a leader. A younger boss can bring fresh ideas to the workplace and potentially improve work life and breed a happier work space overall.
Consider their qualifications: what did they study in school? What work experience do they have? What knowledge can they bring to the table that your company needs at a management level? What is your workplace lacking that they can build up? Think of these strengths before you call into question what they did to deserve their position. Maybe they made waves at their previous job, rocked an amazing campaign that brought in tons of money, or have a specific set of skills that could come in great handy in your field. Rather than judging someone by their age, try to judge them by their accomplishments and expertise. Instead of their number of years, quantify them in their number of successes.
Communication and flexibility are also key to multigenerational office relationships. You and your new boss can acknowledge your age difference and come from a place of mutual respect. You also have to be flexible and willing to accept change. If a young boss prefers communicating through text rather than email, adapt to that. Being stubborn on changing habits in the office can ultimately make work far less productive and pleasant for everyone.
And of course, always remember that no matter the age of your boss, if they aren’t doing their job correctly or if you feel you were passed over for a role you deserved, there are proper channels in which to communicate your concerns. Speak to your HR representative. They are there to make you feel heard and could also offer advice specific to your situation.