How to Cope with Having a Younger Boss

Carly Naaktgeboren
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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.

 

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  • Nabeel R.
    Nabeel R.

    YOU SAY THE RIGHT FACT MR. JAMES

  • James Wolf
    James Wolf

    Maturity of boss and worker is very important, not the ages.

  • Michael T.
    Michael T.

    If i saw a mistakes they was making i would try to tell them . Some would listen cause they new i have years of experience. Sometime few try to prove me wrong . After they fail i would just say we gotta fix this . Then we move on .

  • Terry B.
    Terry B.

    I agree with you on this

  • Mohammad A.
    Mohammad A.

    I simply walk away !
    I did walk away from my job in 2012, when I learnd the young engineer who I didn't care is going to be the head of our department.
    I have zero tolerance to deal with company policy when young engineer with minimum experience and education become the department head because of big mouth and kissing owner's ass and has no life except to mind other employees.

  • Gail G.
    Gail G.

    Too bad that using the F word is ok with them.

  • sonia rodriguez
    sonia rodriguez

    As long as they are open minded, and listen to their employees and have good leadership and people skill they will go a long ways, no problem with me.

  • Anne Flanagan
    Anne Flanagan

    The older the better - the more knowledge I can gain from them. If their mean - they have a right to be and I can take it!

  • Allyn F.
    Allyn F.

    Always good to get a younger perspective on our world.

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