Conquering a younger boss!

There are always going to be adjustments and difficulties associated when someone finds out they have a new boss.  Now imagine learning that they are younger…this can be especially difficult.

At first, when you discover that your new boss is younger than you, it can throw you off your game a little bit and understandably it can feel strange and unnatural.

Taking instructions from a “youngster” isn’t pleasant by any means when you’re the older worker.

No doubt that when a young up-and-comer steps into a management position and supervises more mature workers, the relationship can feel awkward and uncomfortable at first…

If you or your staff finds themselves in this position, here are some things that might be going through everyone’s minds:

  • They act like they know more than I do, but they don’t.
  • They act like they are entitled – they didn’t earn their position.
  • They micromanage.
  • They don’t give me enough direction.
  • They play favorites with younger workers.

This ever-changing workplace demographic means it’s becoming increasingly likely that at some point in your career, either you or your staff will find yourselves being managed or supervised by someone with fewer years on them.

Sometimes it’s just the way things tend to unfold but just maybe it could be a blessing in disguise.  Here’s are some things everyone should keep in mind…


  1. Support and show respect for the younger manager.
  2. Learn how to manage up so you will be valued.
  3. Be open to new ideas.
  4. Look for mutual mentoring opportunities.
  5. Be tactful and sensitive in making constructive ideas for improvement.
  6. Learn the manager’s communication style and broaden yours if necessary.



  1. Talk about how things used to be in the good old days.
  2. Put down ideas.
  3. Modify your communication style or interests that seem inauthentic to seem “young”.
  4. Overvalue years of experience.
  5. Withhold information that will help the younger supervisor succeed.


It’s obvious and only natural that our workforce is getting older.  This can pose an array of challenges for employers, from managing the health needs of these older workers, to how to retain and motivate a workforce that has very different priorities and expectations of work.

That being said, everyone needs to stay open and positive to their direction even if it’s felt that it’s all been heard before.

With more new bosses being Generation Y “millennial”, the boomers need to go out of their way to show enthusiasm, a willingness to embrace new perspectives, technologies and procedures, but above all be authentic to their age and who they are.

Once you consciously acknowledge your boss’s strengths everything will be much easier and it will be a much more positive process, and from there, an effective team can develop.

Remember…with more professional experience comes a wealth of knowledge that can be shared and appreciated.  It’s a great way to stand out and be a team player.

Have you ever worked for a younger boss?


[themecolor]Dave Baney is the founder and CEO of 55 Questions, LLC.  We work with successful top executives with a driving ambition to crush their competition.  We help CEOs and Entrepreneurs improve alignment, communication and accountability throughout their organization.[/themecolor]

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