Gen Y Managing Boomers?

November 4, 2013

Gen Y managing Boomers

More and more, Gen Y is managing Boomers. See what tips Courtney Templin, coauthor of Manager 3.0, has for Millennials.

Boomers don’t always see eye to eye with Millennials, so you can imagine how sticky it can be when you’re a Millennial managing a boomer!  Employees who are older than you want to see that you’re knowledgeable, action oriented, and have your stuff together.  Get to know the style of those who you are managing that are older than you.  Millennials are all about collaboration and group work, but remember that boomers may not be as excited about doing everything together as a team.  For example, according to CareerBuilder, sixty-six percent of workers ages 55-plus prefer to skip the process and dive right into executing workplace projects.  Here are three tips for a millennial manager in this situation:

  • Know your stuff.  Prepare, research, learn, and become a sponge so you’re ready to lead your team forward.  If you don’t seem knowledgeable or on your toes from the start, your employees’ suspicions will be confirmed – you’re too young and inexperienced for the job.  Importantly, knowing your stuff doesn’t mean you know it all.  You can be a prepared and knowledgeable leader who still is open to new ideas and ways of doing business.
  • Respect their experience, but don’t be intimidated by it.  Your older employees have some amazing insights and breadth of knowledge brought to them by their years at work and in life.  See it as a value and not a threat.  Show that you respect the perspective they bring to the table.
  • Try to see the whole picture.  Significant others, children, college tuition, aging parents, retirement – oh my!  Boomers are at a different place in their lives, so flexibility, rewards, and recognition may take a different form for each generation and individual.  Take these various styles and situations into account when making decisions.  Having a diverse team representing varying skills and experience levels puts you at an advantage.  Make the most out of your team and individuals by adjusting your style, respecting experience, and stepping up to be a confident leader who is willing to learn and willing to lead.

Find out what Hadyn Shaw thinks of Millennials managing Boomers in this video:

Like this post? You might be interested in seeing other posts by Courtney Templin.

Courtney Templin is the coauthor of Manager 3.0.

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About The Author

COURTNEY TEMPLIN is the Chief Operating Officer at JB Training Solutions, and a Millennial herself. She sits on the board of the Chicago Society for Human Resource Management, where she leads the Emerging Leaders Initiative. - See more at:

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