At some point in your career, you may find yourself reporting to a boss who—gasp—is younger than you. You’re not an ageist! I get it, but it can feel a bit awkward.
Age discrepancies at the office may actually be a good thing and here are some tips to deal.
- Don’t call attention to your age. When reporting to a younger manager, get out of your own head. In other words, don’t assume your age is a problem. People have a tendency to make jokes and draw attention to it,” Don’t call yourself a golden oldie or don’t say ‘I’m old enough to be your mother,’ or ‘When I was your age….’ In most cases, no one notices until you’re the one who mentions it.”
- An age gap just means more diversity. Maybe you’re an introvert with an extrovert boss. Or perhaps you’re a numbers and data person reporting to an artistic and visual manager. Age is really just one more point of difference. The best approach at the workplace is to think of your boss as your client. You have a lot of responsibility that’s tied to that relationship, regardless of the age.
- Work hard to find common ground. The cliché is true: Age is just a number. What matters in the workplace is building person-to-person relationships. Ask your young boss what their interests are; talk about sports or the new series you’re loving and suggest they should see too. The bottom line: When you get to know somebody as a human being, generational divides typically go away.
- You can learn something from each other. You’re never too old or too young learn. Young bosses will have fresh ideas and approaches to things – be open to it. You will also have different experiences that you can bring to the table. It can be very powerful.
- Network with people of all ages. As we get older, age doesn’t seem to matter. I love speaking to people who are 5 years old, 10 years, old 15, 21, 50, 60, 70, 80… you get the idea. Gosh, everyone has a story and insight – do you listen? You never know what you’ll learn.
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