Working for Someone Younger than Yourself? 5 Ways to Partner Successfully

Generational differences in the workplace can be hard to manage sometimes, but the bottom line is that maintaining positive work relationships with your colleagues and your boss is necessary in order to foster a desirable workplace culture. Whether it be completing a project,  responding to client needs, or working with a particular product, you should be willing to make a real effort to perform your best and meet your boss’ expectations, regardless of any age differences.

Millennials are increasingly becoming a part of the c-level labor force, and it is necessary to adapt to these rapid changes in order to make the most out of your current employment situation. Here are some tips on how to partner successfully with your younger boss.

Don’t overthink it.

The fact that your boss is younger than you is probably not as big a deal as you might think. Don’t dwell on your differences; focus instead on your commonalities. Regardless of your age or your boss’ age, there is common ground, and both of your career paths will progress in whatever way makes the most sense given your goals and experiences. Don’t let the age gap psych you out; it’s only awkward if you make it awkward.

Remember that your experience is an asset.

Be confident in your abilities. The fact that your boss is younger is not a reflection of your own shortcomings, so you shouldn’t feel insecure about your own age, experience, and ability. Your experience allows you to offer a unique perspective and collaborate with younger colleagues by both teaching them and learning from them. Be self-assured in your professional capabilities, and what you bring to the table. You have a seat at it for a reason.

Stay up to date with skills/techniques.

Even though your experience is an advantage that many younger employees might not be able to relate to, they do have a competitive edge in terms of a modern skill set. Seek out any necessary training for programs such as Microsoft Excel and become familiar with profile social media platforms such as LinkedIn.

It is in your best interest to take the time to learn new skills and develop them, so you stay relevant and up to date on the trends in your industry.

Don’t try too hard to relate.

While your efforts may be coming from a place of good intentions, you might be surprised to find that being yourself goes a long way. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. Embrace your maturity and be authentic in your approach to build a relationship with your boss. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room, but don’t make it a bigger deal than it is. Most importantly, remember that whatever you’re feeling is natural.

Recognize that he or she is probably in that position for a reason.

We’ve all heard that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Consider that your boss likely worked their way to the position they are in now. They earned it, and even if you are thrown off by their youth, you should assume that your boss is the right person for the job, unless proven otherwise. Above anything, be respectful and learn to appreciate the fresh perspective that he or she may have to offer.

Ultimately, you and your boss are a team, and you are working towards achieving the same goals. Keeping an open mind while being true to your own identity will help you continue to move forward in spite of any unforeseen changes to your work environment.

At Barbachano International, we understand that some emerging situations can be difficult to manage. Visit our blog to learn about some of the ways you can combat ageism in the workplace or understand why millennials are being hired for c-level positions.  

By Barbachano Staff

At Barbachano International (BIP), we know that talent is the most important asset a company has. When people shine, businesses light up. We help leaders and organizations unleash their full potential in Mexico, LATAM, and the US. Get in touch with us today at (619) 427-2310 or email us at barbachano@bipsearch.com. Experience the BIP difference.

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