Getting Along With a Younger Boss

The difficult economic times seem to be coming to an end, or so we are being told. Employment is improving for some and people are finding jobs, even if the work isn’t their first choice. While there is security in getting a paycheck, there can also be apprehension if the job is in a new or different environment.

In the recent Stress in America survey, 76 percent of the Baby Booomer Generation (ages 46-64) reported money and job stability as a significant cause of stress. It can be challenging to take on a different role or to do work that you feel you are overqualified to do. And it may be difficult to feel comfortable and satisfied working for a boss who is younger than you.

This topic was raised recently in a newspaper just up the road from me in Kansas City. The article tells of the emotional conflicts for workers with younger bosses and also shared tips from psychologist Dr. Gary McClain.

I think the key tip in the article is to treat a younger boss or an older supervisee as a colleague. Becoming a supervisor is not always just about knowledge or experience; sometimes it’s about a set of leadership or management skills that not everyone has in equal amounts. The key in effective working relationships (or any relationship for that matter) is to cooperate, not to compete. Be honest and humble enough to admit the strengths in the other person and allow each other’s strengths to benefit the organization.

For those readers who feel sure that hiring the younger boss was a mistake (or worse, an injustice), you’re still better off looking for ways to take control rather than stew over the decision—whether that’s through gratitude for the job you have, changing your role, or looking for your next job.

Photo by Mish Mish (via Flickr).

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3 Responses to “Getting Along With a Younger Boss”

  1. Chris   February 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks for asking. Feel free to send it on.

  2. NetBooks   February 25, 2011 at 1:23 am

    Nice information. I’m going to send your link to some of my friends if that’s okay with you.