Think of the palm of your hand as your working environment. And consider your thumb and fingers as the key connections to that working environment. While you could make do without a finger, or even your thumb, you wouldn’t want to because the experience would be less then optimally satisfying.
Consider these five tips to make the most of your time working with a boss who is younger than you are:
Be the thumb for them. If you’ve been where they have not yet gone, help them grasp what’s happening. For example, a change in executive leadership is coming, a new client is getting ready to come on board, or a new product is just about to launch. You’ve seen this happen before and you can offer some specifics of how your culture handles such situations. Offer that up to them. Help them look good by navigating effectively.
Don’t point the finger. When the young boss steps in it, and you know they probably will, don’t go out to your colleagues talking blame and shame – nothing about that is helpful. Instead, manage your own reaction first then help your coworkers sort through their own reactions. If the opportunity presents itself, offer your sorting help to your boss. It may be just what they need, too.
Your middle finger stands tallest. On most hands, the middle finger is the longest. Use it to remind yourself to stand tall in the midst of any work scenario. Don’t shrink back from using what you know to help others, which includes your boss. Decide to act with confidence and you’ll find your example is a positive influence to those around you.
Let your ring finger shine. The analogy here is to sit back and think of where your greatest strengths are being utilized. When you have a clear picture of that, share it with your young boss so they, too, know where you shine. This will help them direct work to you that you’ll more likely enjoy and perform at a top notch rate. That shine can turn truly brilliant when you and the young boss have a conversation about where your strengths can fill in their gaps.
Your pinky finger is your sensor. On the outside of the hand, the pinky often senses something before the rest of the hand does. Think of the pinky as your antennae. Because you have been around the block more often, your radar may be more sensitive than your young boss. If something feels hot or cold, let them know that. Use your sensitivity for their benefit.
Ultimately, the boss and the worker bee want a “hand in glove” fit. When this happens we each know where the other is at and we can feel when a shift is about to take place. “Hand in glove” fit allows us to maneuver smoothly and that helps us feel like we belong. This is really what your young boss is looking for, a sense of belonging.
Barb Dusek is founder of CorSpective where the mission is to see organizations benefit because people enjoy their workplace experience. Barb blends her years of corporate management experience and HR with her Master’s degree in counseling psychology, to provide a rich learning experience that both challenges and encourages people to maximize their potential. Find Barb’s professional profile under Barb Dusek at Linked In.