Younger or Older Boss…What are the Best (Worst) Things about Working with Them?
Which do you prefer – an older or a younger boss? What’s so good (or not so good) about having a boss who does not belong to the same generation as yours? In a nutshell, you can say that the difference in (generation) style can become an issue; what works for the boss might not work for you and vice versa. Read on and see if you agree or disagree with some points discussed below (with the assumption that you are in the mid-range age).
1. Impressing them. As an employee, you are inclined to try to impress your boss, and that’s normal. If you have a younger boss, chances are there are more ways to impress him. Since he’s young, his expectations might not be that high yet and his creative mind can still jive with yours. Younger bosses are usually easier to impress since they are more open to and appreciative of your efforts to assist them in their tedious jobs. As for older bosses, they’ve been in the business for far too long that they have a tendency to think they know how everything works. So often, they have higher expectations and they are predisposed to suspect that your every move is geared towards impressing them.
2. Adapting to their ways. You have to communicate with your boss. Either it’s about work or other things; you have to engage in conversations with them at one time or another. It’s one way of adapting to the manner and style of doing things. With an older boss, you might experience the challenge of thinking about topics that you can both relate to. In the case of a younger boss, who is most likely nearer your age, there are several subjects you can easily talk about, which can make you feel more comfortable.
3. Teaching them. You read that right – even bosses can learn from you. Now, this can be a little tough on older bosses, most likely. Younger bosses usually are more open to asking help from others – even from subordinates. For older bosses, it is probably smarter to be a little subtle. You’d be asking for trouble if you correct them about an error, for example. Some older bosses can be quite open-minded though; in which case you can go ahead and speak your mind. Better be watchful not to touch any ego; or be accused of disrespect. Make sure the older boss doesn’t mind you teaching them about a thing or two.
4. Learning from them. It goes both ways as you can see. You certainly anticipate learning something from your boss. This is the part where there’s a role reversal actually. It is now your expectations that are put to the test. Perhaps for younger bosses who are just starting to learn the ropes themselves, the learning you are hoping to get is more on attitude formation rather than skills; although modern skills and techniques must definitely be in your agenda. You are more likely to look up to older bosses for wisdom to inspire you at work. Their rich experience is a constant source of reference for the right moves and strategies that may be applicable to certain situations.
It’s not really that big a deal if you have a younger or older boss. The point is they’re the boss, so you have to learn to speak their language. Just remember doing your job well in front of the boss (and even when they’re not looking) is your primary concern; otherwise, you might find yourself jobless.