How to Deal with a Younger Boss

Ok, so you've taken a little time off work; maybe had a baby or raised a family- and you're finally back in the office. Problem is, your new boss as about the same age as your old babysitter!It may be hard to adjust but it can be done and to find out how I headed to New York to interview executive couch and author of "The Essentials of Fabulous", Ellen Lubin Sherman.

When meeting any new boss, especially one that's younger than you, it's essential that you come across as energetic, enthusiastic and full of vitality. This is no time for the dead-man-walking routine! As Ellen puts it, make sure you are "full of pizazz and with all neutron's firing". The key is to clearly show that you will add a great deal to the company and won't drag them down.

Kath's tips for Pizazz:

  • Make sure you go to bed early the night before.

  • Never forget, sleep = smarts.

  • Leave enough time to get ready before the meeting so you're not flustered.
    If your schedule allows, go for a brisk exercise session in the morning so you're awake and invigorated and ready to take names.

No matter how much experience you've had in the past or how well your previous systems worked, Ellen warns us to never EVER say, "this is how we use to do it"! Not only does it make you sound O-L-D, Ellen believes it also sends the wrong message to your employee about your attitude towards change and progress. Ellen recommends an attitude shift to a place of feeling excited about learning new things and soaking up as much fresh information as possible. Never forget, this is a golden opportunity for you to learn, grow and update your skill sets, so don't waste it trying to rehash the past…the future is so much more exciting!

Group emails, IM, Skype conference calls…the world of workplace communication has certainly changed over the past few years! Ellen advises us to immediately "pick up the vibe" in regard to your bosses preferred form of communication and to follow their lead when contacting them and other staff members.
Once upon a time it may have been the norm to pop into a colleagues office for a quick chat, or even pick up the phone, but these days many workplaces relay on computers to connect staff members. While this may feel a little impersonal at first, it's crucial that you keep the dialog open in the form they are most comfortable with, at least the majority of the time.

Never forget why they employed you in the first place…to bring something new to the company. While it is crucial to look "part of the team", it's also essential to remember why you're such a superstar and use your interpersonal skills to build report, respect and relationships with those you work with.

No love potion necessary. Ellen suggests making your boss your greatest fan by showing that you're a tremendous asset to the company and that you have no chip on your shoulder, that you both respect what your younger boss has accomplished and have no problem reporting to someone more senior in rank and less senior in age.

Kath's tip: The fastest way to be respected is to be respectful of others.

For more information on Kathryn's fabulous pink outfit check out Shop It To Me.