How to Establish Your Seniority when You’re a Young Boss

In today’s crazy employment market, there’s no telling who might end up with the job. A person may have 25 years experience in your profession, but end up with a boss who’s 25 years old. If you’re a young boss, it can be hard to establish the right relationship with your older employees – how do you earn their respect without offending the seniority of those who have been around longer than you? How do you handle their errors or encourage and empower them if they just look at you as a youngster?


1. Hold regular reviews of skills and knowledge to address the gap.

While you can’t deny the value of experience, new technologies and methods are always happening, and so you need to ensure that your employees have the up-to-date knowledge that goes hand-in-hand with experience. Older employees are often eager to learn new things so that they can be ‘in the loop’ and belong with the rest of the group.


2. Maintain courtesy in all interactions with your older employees.

Respect for your elders is still important in our culture, and so courtesy and respect should be your buzzwords no matter what the interaction calls for. They will only respect you if you show them the same courtesy, and giving respect is also a part of generally being professional – which is important to anyone’s corporate wellness.


3. Agree on your working style.

If you reprimand an older employee, they may feel more embarrassed by the fact that you’re young than by the error itself. Establish with your employees that their input is invaluable, but sometimes there will be discords and errors and you will have to step up and pull rank. Ensure your employees know that what you say and do will be done with regard to the wellbeing of the company, as well as the careers of everyone involved.


4. Establish seniority

As we do have a culture in which elders are to be obeyed – and no one believes this more than older people – it can be hard to establish your seniority.  However, make sure that you quickly assert that you have more access to a broader vision and wider frame of information. Lay it out in logical terms, so that the confusion of having a young boss is eliminated.

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