Keep the conversation current. Your impressive skills set have brought you this far in your career. So demonstrate why you’re an integral part of the company instead of boasting about past credentials. “Don't undermine your opportunity to gain traction by telling your boss that back in the ol' days you did things differently and better,” says Ellen Lubin-Sherman, author of The Essentials of Fabulous: Because Whatever Doesn't Work Here Anymore. “Your job is to master the details of today's workplace and play on the boss's team.”
Focus on your boss’s strengths. Whether you agree she should be in charge, your boss’ skills landed her there for a reason, so be sure to take note. “It is critical to depersonalize the differences based on generation and begin understanding the natural motivations and interests of the individual,” advises Steve Gavatorta author of The Reach Out Approach: A Communication Process for Initiating, Developing & Leveraging Mutually Rewarding Relationships. “Quit focusing on what Gen Y is not and start thinking about how to create the right atmosphere, one that capitalizes on their team building, trusting, tech savvy nature. Then you’ll understand why they do what they do.”
Be empathetic. If working for a younger boss makes you uncomfortable, consider that the feelings might actually be mutual. “The new young manager may be quite insecure about this situation,” says Anja Schuetz, author of Kick Start To Becoming a Great People Manager. “Acknowledge that it may be awkward for both of you and actively ask how you can both support each other.”
Be adaptable. Remember the days when emails were grammatically correct without LOLs or emoticon smiley faces? Your new boss may not! “Don’t read too much into a “terse” email from your boss,” says Lubin-Sherman. “She’s not being rude or disrespectful – she’s driven by the bottom-line so when writing to her make sure you get right to the point.” Accept the new way to communicate without compromising your professional beliefs. “Younger professionals tend to use “slang” when writing an email but you will out-perform the competition if you write an email that’s spell and grammar-checked. Those “old world” values still have a place in the modern corporate world and will underscore your competence and skill set,” says Lubin-Sherman.
Help your boss help you. A successful company often means job security, so letting go of biases and actually helping to raise awareness of the strengths of your new boss might just help you in the long run. “When a company has a leader who is well-respected in the industry, it only helps the rest of the employees,” shared Kelsey Meyer, VP Digital Talent Agents. This can all add value to your current position and potentially land you into the boss’s chair in the future.