Working for a Younger Boss? 10 Tips that may help!
I first started speaking about The Generations way back in 2005 when the Baby Boomers were still in charge! Today many Boomers have retired and those remaining in the workforce are finding themselves working for a younger boss. A recent CareerBuilder survey of 5,231 full-time employees found that 69 % of workers ages 55 and older currently have a younger manager.
Yesterday I found this to be true while presenting to a room filled with Gen X and Gen Y. Only 10% of the audience was made up of Boomers! When the presentation was over, several of the Boomers came up to me to share the challenges they face working for their “20 something” bosses. Some of their comments included:
“They play favorites with other younger workers.”
“They keep asking when I am going to retire.”
“They don’t ask for my advice.”
“They don’t explain things well or give me direction.”
“They do not include me.”
“How can I get their attention and be part of their team?”
Fact: According to a 2012 survey of hiring managers at 500 U.S. companies, “hiring managers think that a challenge in hiring a mature worker is their resistance to taking direction from younger management (33 percent). Similarly, 27 percent of hiring managers also believe that a challenge in hiring a Millennial is their resistance to taking direction from older management.”Here are a few suggestions to help Baby Boomers form a better relationship and engage with a younger supervisor:
1. Get to know them. Think about it; this person was given this position for a reason. Someone thought she had the talent and or expertise to handle the job. Acknowledge her expertise and build a relationship by asking and listening. There is a lot you can learn.
2. Be open to new ideas and new ways of working. Managers and coworkers really dislike hearing, “We always do it this way.” It’s important to show your manager that you are open to new ideas.
3. Be aware of your tone. Many Boomers feel they are mentoring when they share their expertise, but younger managers may feel that Boomers are “parenting” them.
4. Avoid comparing your younger manager to you own children. Please do not say things like, “You remind me of my son.” Or even worse, “My kids do that too!”
5. While we are on the “don’t say that,” don’t share what you were doing when you were their age. Avoid saying things like, “When I was your age, I had three children and a mortgage.”
6. New ways of communication. Be open to texting and instant messaging. Keep your phone on and with you at all times!
7. You may disagree with this, but face-to-face time and meetings will be replaced with conference calls, webinars, teleconferences, and the like. Younger managers are focusing on results and productivity. If you feel that you need to discuss something face-to-face with your manager, go in and suggest setting up a time where you can discuss something face-to-face in more depth.
8. Get current and remain relevant. Embrace change; you may have to adjust your attitude towards trends and technology. The key is to do everything you can do to remain vital. Learn new technology. Go to current movies. Listen to the latest music. Stay alive and interesting!
9. Work on your physical and mental self. Stay in shape, eat healthy, and take a vacation away from your home! My advice is to do whatever it takes to recharges your emotional battery.
10. Don’t talk about retirement!