Surviving and Thriving with a Young Boss


Millennials are an integral part of today’s workforce. So, if you’re a Baby Boomer, What do you do when your new boss is much younger than you?

First, seek advice. Talk to friends and colleagues who’ve weathered the same issue.

The following tips can help you deal with a sticky situation.


Seek advice from friends and colleagues who’ve been in your shoes.

Then reflect on your feelings. Don’t deny them. Take a moment to acknowledge the loss of the older boss you had, the promotion you didn’t get, or feeling insecure and awkward.

You may fear that management thinks of you as “less-than” because your title doesn’t fit your age. But this self-doubt makes your job more difficult.

Instead of mentally highlighting what bothers you about a younger boss, focus on working together to accomplish the team’s goals and on what you have in common.


Don’t Think in Stereotypes

Issues have less to do with age and more to do with perception. Show your supervisor the same respect as you did your previous boss.

Maybe you have more life experience, but (I’ll use she as the universal pronoun) she may have managerial skills and education you don’t.

There were concrete reasons why she was hired. Focus on the positives of a younger boss: energy, dynamism, fresh ideas and new perspectives – great trait to help your team succeed.


Be Yourself

Acting like a 25-year-old when you’re almost twice that age comes across as unprofessional and downright silly. We’re supposed to mature as we age.

Don’t start wearing clothes that aren’t your style or using slang phrases or emojis you found on the web. Dress well by reflecting a professional timely image.

Do your job well and things will work out.


Keep It Professional

Resist the urge to become the office “mom” or “pop.” You can sabotage your career if you bring cookies for the team or give advice to your co-workers. You’re all professionals. Act like it.

Focus on your own job and do it well. Help where you can, deliver what you promise, and stay positive. Adopt a collaborative, not combative approach with your supervisor.

Focus on your own career and strengths instead of your boss’s inexperience.

No matter what, don’t talk about your boss negatively. Unprofessional behavior strains relationships and harms your promotion chances.


Understand Your Manager’s Problems

Find out the issues your boss has and pitch solutions. Aim to be a partner. Become someone your manager can rely on for good work and valuable advice.

Make your experience count. Teach your new boss the “lay of the land” with insights into interpersonal issues and in-house bureaucracy. Above all, make her job easier and do what you can to make the team look good to upper management.


Update Your Skills

Learn what you can from your boss. Train in the things your manager does better than you. Regularly assess industry trends. Polish whatever subjects/processes/trends in which you are weak.

Take pride in your strengths and be confident in your contributions to the team and organization.

If the situation isn’t working, advance your career with additional professional development, mentoring opportunities and search for other positions within the company.

You’re in charge of advancing your own career. Be visible. Make sure all the bosses know who you are. Work with other managers so they know what you can contribute to the organization. And above all, no matter how you may feel about your boss, be positive and others will respond in kind.





Tamera Shaw is a freelance writer for Insured Solutions based in Louisville, Kentucky. She writes fiction and enjoys amateur photography. She happily shares her life with husband Ron, daughter Cate and sage cat, Sophie, who grudgingly shares her home with the newest member of our family – Nieko, our new kitten.


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