The industry goes through a continuous changing process, be it in terms of technology, procedures and policies, and employees as well. The organization retains employees that contribute their best. The organizations also need to have employees who are dynamic and full of fresh ideas. Age doesn’t matter when it comes to experience, knowledge, skill-sets, wisdom, ideas, and emotions. A situation comes in our work life when we end up reporting to a boss who’s younger than us, because the organizations wants best results and these can be achieved when the best people regardless of what age group they belong to work together respecting their abilities.
This should also not make any difference in our efficiency and efficacy towards the organization. The experience and wisdom that comes along with the senior employees is of vital importance. The managerial positions might be filled with younger people; however it’s important to have people from different generations in an organization to achieve the goals and survive in the long-run.
There are generation gaps and differences in the workplace that work as a major challenge and an obstacle. The secret, however, to make this situation work is respecting each other and be flexible towards each other’s approach, leaving the usual stereotypes behind. Age is just a number, and no one can stop you from working or growing if you accept and adapt changes with grace and positivity.
“Age isn’t how old you are but how old you feel.” – Gabriel García Márquez
With millennialism making up the largest demographic in the workplace, the chances of reporting to the boss decades younger than have increased to a great extent, especially if you are joining a new industry like technology in your 40s. Getting a younger boss in your old organization can be possible as well because the younger people are full of ideas, digitally savvy, flexible, and move up the corporate ladder with a faster pace.
This is an awkward and tricky situation to face emotionally and it might poke you day in day out if you keep thinking about it and carrying the baggage along. However, with the changing needs and demographics of the work environment it’s better to accept gracefully that they’re your boss for a reason, make yourself flexible to learn new things and be true and honest towards your work. Communication has a key role to play. This will make both the young employer and older subordinate understand each other’s mind set and create coercive and healthy work environment. With this, it’s also necessary that the older employees keep their ego aside and respect their new bosses who come with a lot of expectations and huge responsibility in the new organization, further helping them by providing mentored assistance to contribute towards the achievement of the organizational goal together as a team.
It becomes difficult for the companies as well to let go of employees who have been the best and productive performers. However, with old age comes illness and rigidity, thereby increasing the costs and inability to adapt changes. So being mentally, emotionally and physically fit is of utmost importance. This creates an aura of confidence and oomph around you and helps you give your best. There are some tips that can be followed by the older employees that can help them manage their work under a younger boss, and help the organization grow in the cut-throat competitive world.
The Following are the 9 Ways To Handle Working for a Younger Boss:
Control your Attitude
Everyone goes through a series of events in their life that flash across your mind and eyes when you grow older. It can be an experience you had in high school, at your workplace, or even at home. It’s important to remember that once you were a young boss rising up the ladder, filled with enthusiasm to take over the entire world, handling a team with people of different ages and backgrounds.
Similarly, it is very essential to listen to what your boss is saying and respect their position as well as their decisions. Gage his thought process and mould yourself accordingly, so that things become easy and constructive for you. Forget your ego as it never helps. Be open to insights and suggestions your boss has to share and accept it with a positive attitude.
Showcase your Strengths
The most important tool that you have as an older employee is your experience and maturity that can help you resolve issues more quickly than the younger ones. It’s necessary to focus on what you can offer to your boss and tell him not to worry, rather prove it through your actions and strengths.
Younger bosses know that you might have a difficult time reporting to someone younger to them. They might also be concerned if you are unwilling to adapt new changes, try new methods, work with the new technology or might even lack competency to do the job you’ve been assigned. Just focus on showcasing your strengths at every level.
Keep the word “Age” away
You might become positive and accept working for a younger boss happily; however, somewhere at the back of your mind it might poke you and de-motivate you bringing your morale down. This usually happens when you get any age centric comments or get yourself into age related arguments. One of the biggest stumbling blocks to a great relation with a younger boss is the age-based stereotype.
The times have changed. Age is not proportional to intelligence and knowledge anymore. Therefore, using it as your trump card to keep your point above everyone should not even be the last option to try. It’s just best to avoid getting into conversations that date you.
Be enthusiastic and ready to learn
You must have managed a team of people when you were young and you know it is not an easy task. A manager loves the people who are easy and fun to work with. Therefore, younger bosses correcting you or suggesting ways should not offend you. Remember, even the experts need to adapt changes and learn the new trends by updating themselves.
With changing demographics of the workplace, it is necessary to blend the strengths of the traditional and latest working styles to come up with ideas that contribute constructively and effectively. Being enthusiastic, positive and flexible makes it easy for the boss to delegate proper authority and responsibility among its team members. This creates an opportunity for the younger boss to prove his mettle, thus, appreciating your efforts.
Become digitally savvy
It is the era of technology. With the advent of technology and its up-gradation every now and then, it becomes necessary for the workforce to keep themselves aware of the technology and adapt the changing needs and working methods. Networking is important socially as well as professionally. With this comes your way of communication with your boss and colleagues. Today’s world communicates more through text-messages, emails sent back and forth, rather than face-to-face chats or the phone.
Maintaining good rapport with your boss is extremely important. You have to be very cautious on how you communicate with the younger boss so that there is no gap in the communication process. Get use to the modern lingo as well as abbreviated words, so that you understand the message your boss wants to convey and prepare for less in person communication.
Stay Competent and Flexible
The younger bosses are proactive and dynamic, and look for employees who are diligent and dedicated to their work. If you have been working in this organization for decades and you think you can have lenient or careless attitude towards things, then you are wrong. Young bosses are sharp and smart, and they can identify people with less competency and negative behaviour very quickly.
The younger generation believes in competency, mental presence, and proactive attitude, so that skipping work and absenteeism does not affect the performance of the organization in the long-run. Don’t leave any stone unturned to prove your competency and flexibility towards procedures at work with your boss.
Stop acting Old
With old age comes illness and rigidity. Keep a balance on your words and thoughts. Pay attention to what you speak. Don’t keep nagging or complaining about any pain or older times. Therefore, it’s important that you stop feeling your growing age.
“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” – Betty Friedan
It’s of vital importance to keep you physically fit by regularly working out and eating healthy. Remember, a healthy mind resides inside a healthy body. So when you are in good shape, you have a confident aura and oomph that makes you youthful regardless of what your age is.
Offer Assistance and Constructive Ideas
The experience that you have is the most powerful tool that can be further used to enhance the productivity and efficacy of your organization. Aim to be a partner and mentor to your new boss. Help your new boss know about his new workplace, its culture, policies and deep-rooted guidelines so that he is able to adjust in the new environment. Your goal should be to work with your younger boss more as a co-worker offering constructive ideas rather than being critical. This helps to make your team and organization successful.
Bosses are humans too and they have a huge responsibility, so it is important to understand the issues your boss is facing and pitch advices and solutions to win the battle maintaining an effective and productive formal relationship.
Be Transparent and Accountable
Transparency is the best trait of a productive employee. Any boss, younger or elder, can never be against the employee who is reliable and delivers results on time. Be true and authentic to your work, your team and your boss. Come up with ideas to produce best results and maximize profits through right methods rather than adapting wrong means. Your long-earned respect and integrity will be of no use if you are not trustworthy.
Being accountable is as important as being honest. Just because you have a younger boss, does not mean you underestimate their talent or decide not to keep them informed while doing the work. It is of major significance that you keep your boss in the loop even if it’s a trivial matter or any professional transaction that takes place, to avoid any adverse situation in the future. Be accountable so that the boss can rely upon you and trust you without any doubts. Remember, you are an old employee, therefore, act like a strong pillar for your organization.
It’s a very good idea to acknowledge your boss’s capabilities and decisions. Once you start doing this, it’ll be much easier to look at and further work on your own skills. And from that point on, you can strategize on how the two of you can develop into and work together as an effective and result-oriented team.
Age is just a number, and it’s essential to recognize the needs of the organization and change accordingly, taking the best from the experiences of the older employees and talents of the younger bosses, thereby working together as an effective team and delivering productive results.
“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” – George Burns
Therefore, rather than being angry or disappointed, take this situation as a new challenge by assisting your new boss with work culture and policies of the organization, by staying enthusiastic and flexible adapting the new technology and changes and making the workplace healthy and constructive. Be you and give your best to the organization that has been a constant source of income and motivation for you from so many years, regardless of the age of the new boss or advent of technology. Being prepared mentally and physically does not only help you in generating new ideas and staying confident, but also helps your organization grow and thrive in the cut-throat competition of the ever-changing work environment.