With more and more Millennials and GenX’ers hitting the management ranks, the probability of working for someone younger than you is pretty high. Generational diversity in the workplace today is greater than ever before, especially as boomers delay retirement. When older workers find themselves taking direction from managers who are their kids age it can be a real challenge. However, if you adopt a positive attitude you might find working for someone younger than you isn’t so bad after all.
Tips for thriving with a younger boss:
1. Embrace learning. Don’t let technology stump you. If social media intimidates you, take an online tutorial. Check out Lynda.com. Stay open to learning new ideas and concepts. Let curiosity be your friend. You’d be amazed at how enlightening it can be to embrace new ways of doing things.
2. Share your knowledge. Learning is a a two way street. Your manager will appreciate hearing your perspective on issues if you present your ideas in a positive, constructive manner. Avoid sounding like a ‘know it all’. Look for opportunities to collaborate on problem solving activities.
3. Check your communication style. Chances are a younger manager will prefer to communicate with you via text messaging, instant messaging or email rather than face-to-face or by phone. Need a quick response? Send a text rather than leaving a voice mail message. Find out how your boss likes to communicate and follow suit.
4. Leverage each other’s strengths. Figure out how you can leverage your skills and experience to complement one another. For instance, maybe your boss is a gifted finance manager but needs your help to run interference when it comes to office politics and employee relations issues. Look for ways to make your manager successful. If she is successful, chances are you will be too.
5. Ditch age-based stereotypes. Age-based stereotypes are one of the biggest roadblocks to a congenial relationship with a younger boss. Just because your manager comes from Generation X, doesn’t mean he can’t complete a written sentence. Similarly, you don’t want to be labeled as a relic from the last century. Don’t be quick to dismiss a new approach simply because it is not how it was done in the past.
Remember you are both part of the same team and you both have unique qualities, skills and experience to bring to the table. Having the right attitude can make this a win-win partnership for both of you. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.