Being a young boss dealing with employees who are older then you is not an easy task and imposes many problems in today’s workplace. In the article “The young-boss-older-employee dilemma”, Weiss tells the story of Jim Schneider who recounts his experience with going from boss of his own work to an old employee managed by a younger supervisor. Back when he was the Boss he “viewed old workers as dead weight”; he thought they are no longer productive or ambitious. Now that he is on the other side, he misses his freedom in taking decision.
His young Boss is actually satisfied with his work because he can count on his experience and he doesn’t have to guide him on every step. His young Boss affirmed “It’s a great thing to have an employee who has such a high level of expectations. It raises the bar for everyone. “However that is not always the case; younger employees sometimes disrespect their older employees or they complain bitterly that they are not respected by older workers, that their opinions are not valued, and that their orders not followed. Older workers can be set in their ways, resistant to change, and obnoxiously know-it-all.
In The article “Younger boss, older worker” Crow, 26 years old supervisor affirms that he prefers online communication between employees such as sending emails and notes. However, Petersen a 36 years old employee, believe more in direct communication between him and his younger supervisor. Being a Younger boss can be intimidating and hard to handle; Therefore Weiss in her article offers many tips for young bosses on how to handle the situation. Her advices to keep an open mind communicate , be patient, and recognize the differences in values and ethics (Ritzler, 2007).
Point of view of the old employee An old employee can feel very demoralized and useless if he had to accept instructions and direction from someone who may be half his age. In fact “One-fifth of employed adults are older than their bosses”, according to a survey by Randstad USA, an Atlanta-based staffing company affirmed Ritzler in his article. Unfortunately according to ritzler , The Randstad survey also found that “ three-quarters of older workers (age 55 and older) said they relate well to younger workers, but only 56 percent of all employees said they relate well to older workers”.
Most old employees assume that young employees are immature, inexperienced and incapable. A young manager was raised in a completely different educational environment to his older staff and has experienced life from a whole new angle. Older employees were taught a different way to do things and have relied on these practices for years. It is not easy for them for someone to come and inform them that those practices are not practical anymore especially if they are not familiar with use of technology.
Weiss in her article affirmed that from loyalty and experience wise, older workers come first; For example “two older employees are celebrating their 20-year anniversaries with the company”. Old workers also have a respect for time, however according to Weiss ,Gen X and Yers were raised in the Internet era, where it doesn’t necessarily matter where the work gets done, as long as it does. “Old workers are having a big difficulty to cope with this situation; they feel outdated and lack modern information. Young workers may have the technological skills but they can’t compete with experience.
Point of view of the Organization The young boss-older employee dilemma is not a modern situation. According to Ritzler this situation started in the agriculture workforce and during the industrial revolution. Ritzler affirmed that “a 2004 study for the Society for Human Resources Management found that keeping workers of different generations apart was not a successful business practice”. That’s just bad business. Just like younger workers can bring fresh ideas and new techniques, older workers bring incredible insight and knowledge.
As a result, when two great minds come together, young bosses can introduce new methods and techniques for completing projects in half the time and older employees can use the benefit of their knowledge to increase the continued success of the company. If there is tension between a young boss and an old supervisor, it will be a waste of both human and social capital. Therefore the management should provide a flexible system where employees and supervisors can provide there complains and suggestions. Add to that, in order to avoid high turnover rate, the management should make sure both employees are satisfied with their jobs and promotion is based on merit.
Ritzler, K. (2007). Younger boss, older worker. Ajc jobs. Retrieved on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 from http://www. ajc. com/hotjobs/content/hotjobs/careercenter/articles/2007/09/28/0930_olderyounger. html Weiss, T. (2007). The young-boss-older-employee dilemma. Forbes. Retrieved Wednesday, March 02, 2011 from http://www. msnbc. msn. com/id/17403234/ns/business-forbescom/