It’s not that we’re getting older, it’s just that bosses are getting younger. Really.
Forbes pointed out a few ways to deal with a younger boss and as such, they also mentioned human resources and career consultants indicated this is not atypical. A 2012 survey by CareerBuilder indicated that 34 percent of employees currently work for a younger boss.
Although one or two years isn’t really a big deal, what happens when you’re a decade apart or more? Generationally, this has implications for a disconnect. There are a few strategies to implement so you can effectively deal with your younger boss.
1. Learn his or her communication style and adapt. Technology savviness may go along well with the younger boss. After all, we’re assuming they’re schooled on online content and social media and accustomed to texting their friends instead of talking.
The same holds true for the office. Do they prefer to hold meetings online rather than in conference rooms? Do they shy away from conference calls and instead, want to hold a WebEx session? If you’re unsure of their style, simply ask. If you’re used to meeting face-to-face with a boss and yours isn’t open to it, that could become an issue. Once you figure out how your boss prefers to communicate, adapt to it.
2. Find out expecations. In this day of instant messaging, does your boss expect you to instantly respond to e-mails? Or will a 24-hour window suffice? Will they call you on your cell phone and expect you to return a voicemail immediately? Sure, these are typical communication styles to etiquette but again, this goes back to your boss’ communication style and frequency.
3. Prove yourself. There could be an awkward sense of reversal here. It doesn’t have to be. Just because you may have more years on this planet doesn’t mean you’re wiser than your boss. You can both learn from each other but you still have to prove yourself. And as pointed out in the Forbes piece, don’t try to act as a protective parent, mentor or big sister/brother. At the end of the day, they’re still your boss.