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The politics of being young on the job: managing the kid boss


It’s been said that with age comes responsibility so it comes as a surprise to some workers that many companies are hiringyounger boss, Family and Work Institute,, Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomers young workers to manage the older and more experienced ones. But in an economic downturn it makes sense that older workers get shed from company payroll to be replaced by younger workers with less experience and less onerous salary demands. And for some this isn’t always been a bad thing.

A research conducted by The Family and Work Institute reflects a surprisingly positive opinion of younger bosses from their older subordinates. Majority of the older employees with younger employers believed that their young bosses were more competent, and more responsive, and more supportive of their needs than managers of any other generation. Fifty-nine percent of Gen X and Baby Boomer employees believed that their young bosses were competent and capable, and an astounding 79 percent of Matures (aged 60 and over) believed that their young bosses were competent and capable in their positions.

“I appreciate the way she has come up to sit in that position. One thing I get to learn from her is to innovate. I get to know the latest way of looking at the world and the business, which we never did when I was of her age,” says Prashanth S, senior manager at “We were assertive then and very aggressive now. The current market needs aggression, which she infuses.”

Still this does not belie the fact that many of the older workers are not always enthused about having to report to a younger figure of authority. For many who are old enough to be the young boss’ parent, taking direction from a “kid” is a bitter pill to swallow. Research also indicates that Baby Boomers are typically the generation at most odds with the conflicting management styles of the Gen Y group.

With the ever-changing face of the workplace environment, some employees are finding it difficult to contend with the colliding ethics of the multigenerational work force.

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