Sistah Girls: When Your Supervisor Is Younger Than You!

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So I’m on the train in NYC at 7am and a woman around 40ish smiles and sits next to me. I was about to pump up the volume on my I-Phone and pray that Drake fills my brain-space until it’s time for me to get off at my stop but something about her energy told me she was gonna speak. I curbed the rude enthusiasm and returned the smile. After a few seconds, she turned to me and said, “It’s nice to see a grown assed-woman these days.” I laughed at her delivery because she looked like Lena Horne but sounded like Nicki Minaj. I gave the non-committal New Yawker, “I hear you” nod.

She turned again and began to tell me all about her job and how her new supervisor was a 30 year-old transplant fresh from Austin, Texas or maybe Rhode Island. Anyway, she’s some kind of health care specialist and the boss-lady apparently has a Masters Degree in Public/Healthcare Administration and the eyes and ears of board members who brought her in to develop systems, analyze productivity, yaddah yaddah…

That got me to thinking about how to coach people to success when their boss is younger than they are. But then I changed my mind and decided to direct this post to the young boss, diva in charge-head honcho. I have been in that situation and so I suggest the following:

  1. Don’t assume that your employees want to replicate your gym-work-bar lifestyle. Take note, there are many roads to happiness and many have chosen the one that leaves room for work-life-balance.
  1. Everyone does not eat, drink, or sleep technology. Don’t make every communication and job related task an online or electronic adventure.
  1. Respect what has come before you. Historical context can go a long way when trying to analyze current company trends. It might help to spend some time with folks who’ve been around to really get a sense of what’s working and what needs to be changed.

My friend from the subway got off at the next stop and I told her to keep her head up. She laughed and said, “Well at the very least, I will finally learn how to use Instagram.”

3 thoughts on “Sistah Girls: When Your Supervisor Is Younger Than You!

  1. I recently had a boss who was 14 years younger than me and he was believed his job description was to be on the boards of local charities. He didn’t understand what my division did.
    After reading your article I wish I did what I did on another job when my peers were younger than me – I kept a role of paper towels nearby so they could wipe the wetness behind their ears!

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