Are you more tenured with many more years of experience than the person to whom you report? Is your manager the same age or younger than your children? These days, it’s not all that unusual for older people to report to those who are much younger.
According to a 2012 CareerBuilder survey, “One third (34 percent) of US workers say their boss is younger than they are and 15 percent say they work for someone who is at least ten years younger.”
Bridging the generational gap – which turns out to be a values and communication style gap – can be a real challenge.
Here’s a little piece of advice I hope you’ll find helpful. Be open-minded and respectful. Don’t approach the relationship, and therefore every interaction, with a mindset that says, “I’m right and she’s wrong.” Or, “I know better than he does because I’ve been there and done that!” Instead, practice sharing your perspective and really listening to and learning from theirs.
You can also ask young people you’re close to what their generation values in communication and work style. Don’t debate, just listen and take in what they say. Then, try it out on your 30-something boss and see if it helps you bridge the generation gap.
For more information on ways to get along with your younger boss, check out:
- “5 Tips for Working For A Younger Boss.” (WorkingMother.com)
- “When Your Boss is Younger Than You” (Citi’s Women & Co. website.)