Younger Boss - 6 Tips to care when your Junior is the Manager

Updated: 4 months ago
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Cribbed again to your spouse over the weekend that your younger manager sucks? Or ranted about the team lead who is younger to you and boss around?

Most often, everyone is irked with the boss, whatsoever is the reason. But what if your boss is younger to you?

May not be a regular case for many but haven’t we seen people who work under young bosses crib often? It is possible that the younger boss or the supervisor is highly skilled at their job, owns a better degree and has more knowledge albeit lesser experience. These make them the boss. Circumstances and reasons may differ but accept your junior boss whole-heartedly. But how?

With the millennials and Gen Z bursting the working arena, chances are that someone with a management degree for a premium B-school and experience lesser than you has entered your office and is now heading your team. Their degree and exposure give them an edge over the crowd.

How would you accept this fact and keep up the work without an inferiority complex? 

We have a few tips to deal with a junior boss.

1. Keep the age factor aside

More experience does not guarantee the right qualification for a role. Often in the corporate structure, the best performing employees are promoted to managerial positions with the years they spend in the industry irrespective of the fitment. But norms have changed and the importance of efficiency has surpassed the experience to climb the ladder.

Of course, experience matters so do the correct skills. If the junior boss has the right skills to manage the team, their fewer years of practice should not matter. What matters is they are getting the job done properly. This is all that matters for reports and numbers.

Never remind them you are a senior age-wise. You have a role to play in the team and they have their responsibilities. Do not fuss over this and keep yourself fit not to appear older.

2. Lock the ego away

Never carry the ego around them if you have more experience. Agree, you have twenty years of knowledge in the manufacturing industry but they are the right fit to handle the sales team because of the appropriate knowledge and desired skill set. So, never try to put them down over egoistic matters. See, what they are good at and try to imbibe the same for sharpening your skills.

Don’t take any remarks from them personally, because more often than not, they are looking for the results and not really lurking to exaggerate anyone’s minor mistakes.

3. Learn from them

If you seriously think you deserve the position, it is the right time to start developing the skills your supervisor professes. Learn the tactics they use to manage the team and deliver the meetings, how they handle the clients and most importantly, what are the positives in them, which get the thumbs-up from the team members and seniors.

You might want to skim through their job profile or a similar candidature to check the must-have skills and the nice-to-have expertise for a similar position. That way, you will evaluate where you stand for that position.

4. Share your experience

All right, they are the boss because of their knowledge and many other reasons. Now you know, what you need to master to reach that level. But there are great chances you master a skill due to your experience or otherwise. Offer them the same when the need arises.

You might know a particular skill your boss depends on you for. Or many such skills. Don’t resist offering them tips on your proficiency. You might be the master of presentations, share with them a few aptitudes. Quite possible that you know a prospective customer well from your previous assignments, so go ahead, tell them some of their trade secret and the winning strategy. Trust me, you will make an impact by knowledge sharing and reduce the grudge.

Developing an amiable bond with the boss in the right way is always nice, isn’t it?

5. Resolve the conflict with talks

Don’t keep the resentments to you. Set up a call with your boss and discuss with them without reservations. Perhaps, their rude reply was an outcome of stress. Or the questions they raised on your presentations were genuine and not aimed at demotivating you—however condescending they appeared—in a boardroom full of coworkers.

But when you open a conversation with your junior manager, keep your mind open to hear their thoughts. Hear their side of the view patiently and see if the problem exists at your end. If so, be assertive to accept the suggestions if given. Most of the time, it is just a matter of understanding and your manager might be innocuous.

6. Never backbite about the junior boss

If you have clashes with your junior boss, never vent out against them in public. Such an attitude only makes you look unprofessional. Talk to a few friends you confide in—preferably outside your office—and seek their advice. If the boss only acknowledges your weak points, you should reap the benefit of this indirect feedback and act upon your profile growth. If you feel you are being judged a lot and never get the due credit, set up a formal discussion as mentioned in point #5.

If you are only fretting because a junior is a boss and you need to work according to their instructions, then you should accept the way it is. In this age of proficiency, where skill matters the most, organizations cannot compromise with the manager’s designation. Factory eras are bygone and efficiency and skills supersede the years of experience, which might be for the namesake only.

What if the water is nose deep?

Well, let us say, you agreed for all the above 6 suggestions but your boss is not the right person. They are deliberately dropping you from the mail threads and only forwarding the discussions in the end when asked about. Never informs you about a meeting well in advance and asks to join in the last moment or even never remembers to include you. What if you are always the target of their lashing? Worse is, indifferent to the issues you have raised or never takes in your suggestion in the first place; implementing and promoting your ideas would never come in the picture then.

What if your boss has strife with you and all they want is harass you instead of harnessing the real-time experience you bring with your seniority?

You have to resolve the conflict amicably as mentioned in point #5. Talk to the manager and let them know how you feel about being treated this way. Chances are there could be a misunderstanding, which might have forced them to behave the way they are doing. If you still feel that the grudge has something personal, don’t wait until you suffocate yourself with the pressure of the grudge.

Escalate it via proper channel. Take to the right person—boss’s supervisor or the HR—or take the right forum if there is any official grievance-recording tool. We would still suggest this route as a last resort until you have tried analyzing the root cause, otherwise, you may be alleged as a complete grouch persona.

If you decide to launch an official complaint, arm yourself with proofs and don’t forget point #6.

And in the end…

A boss most of the time is the boss for some traits they possess, whether the education and knowledge, the qualification they have to perform the role or being the right fit in many other ways. If you think that only experience counts then you have to start thinking differently.

Be positive and move in the right direction to take your career to the desired level using these guidelines rather than lamenting about the rightful boss.

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