3 Tips for Working with a Younger Boss

3 Tips for Working with a Younger Boss

The tide is turning in the workforce. Millennials, now the largest generation, are stepping into leadership roles at an increasing pace. With approximately 56 million Millennials working in the US alone. While this shift creates an exciting opportunity for fresh perspectives and innovation, it can also lead to some initial adjustments for older, experienced employees accustomed to different leadership styles.

But fear not, professionals! Dr. Maria Church, renowned author of “A Course in Leadership: 21 Spiritual Lessons on Power, Love and Influence” offers valuable insights on bridging the generational gap and fostering a healthy work environment with your younger boss. In this blog, we’ll explore her 3 key tips, for a multi-generational leadership team.

 

 

Tip 1: Asking Permission to Share Ideas

The first tip Dr. Church emphasizes is to move away from a comparison mindset and embrace collaboration instead. This means ditching the preconceived notion that older experience automatically translates to superior ideas. While your years in the field undoubtedly hold value, remember, the Millennials have grown accustomed to rapid change, fostering agility and adaptability – key skills in today’s dynamic leadership landscape.

Therefore, instead of assuming your boss wouldn’t be receptive, cultivate a collaborative spirit.

Phrase your suggestions with openness and inquiry: “I have an idea that might contribute to [project/goal]. Would you be open to hearing it?”

This approach demonstrates respect for their leadership while offering your valuable insights.

 

Example in Action:

Imagine you’re working on a government outreach program targeting younger demographics. You might suggest leveraging social media platforms you possess expertise in, while your younger boss brings their understanding of current trends and online communities. By combining your knowledge and perspectives, you can create a more impactful program that resonates with the target audience.

Remember: It’s not about who has the “better” idea, but about harnessing the strengths of each generation to achieve the best outcome for your organization.

 

 

Tip 2: Don’t be Judgy

Dr. Church suggests letting go of your assumptions and adopting a non-judgmental attitude when dealing with your younger boss. Avoid making broad assumptions about their personality, work habits, or abilities just because of their age.

Instead of assuming your younger boss is a “social media addict” or lacks experience due to their age, focus on getting to know them as an individual. Observe their work style, communication patterns, and decision-making process with an open mind. You might be surprised by their dedication, innovative ideas, or strong leadership skills.

 

Example in Action:

Imagine you have a younger boss who prefers frequent, informal check-ins over traditional written reports. While you might be accustomed to a more structured communication style, resist the urge to judge their approach as “unprofessional.” Instead, embrace the opportunity to adapt and experiment with their preferred communication methods. You might find it fosters a more collaborative and efficient work environment.

Remember: Judging individuals based on broad stereotypes can hinder collaboration and create unnecessary friction in the workplace.

 

 

Tip 3: Keep it Professional

Professional Working with a Younger Boss

Dr. Church’s final tip emphasizes maintaining professional boundaries and avoiding the “parental role” trap. While your experience and guidance are valuable, remember your boss is the leader, and treating them like a child can undermine their authority and damage your working relationship.

Instead of offering unsolicited advice or assuming a parental role, focus on collaborative problem-solving and respectful communication. Offer your expertise when directly asked, but refrain from overstepping or micromanaging. Remember, your contribution lies in sharing your knowledge and experience, not imposing your will.

 

Example in Action:

Imagine your younger boss is struggling with a project deadline. While you might feel the urge to jump in and “fix” things, resist the temptation. Instead, offer support by asking open-ended questions to understand their challenges, share relevant resources, and be available to assist if they request your expertise. This approach demonstrates respect for their leadership while offering valuable support.

Remember: A successful working relationship depends on mutual respect and acknowledging your respective roles. Treat your younger boss with the same professionalism and courtesy you would an older one. Ultimately, your goal is to contribute to a strong team and a successful organization, and collaboration built on mutual respect makes all the difference.

 

 

Conclusion

As we deal with the evolving landscape of leadership, the valuable insights offered by Dr. Maria Church hold immense potential to bridge the generational gap and develop a healthy work environment.

By embracing collaboration, ditching stereotypes, and maintaining professional boundaries, we can build strong, respectful relationships with our younger bosses, unlocking the collective strength of diverse perspectives and experiences.

Share this knowledge! Pass these tips on to your colleagues, friends, and network members who may find themselves in similar situations. By fostering understanding and open communication across generations, we can create workplaces that are not only productive but also inclusive and empowering for all.