How to Impress Your Much Older Boss

Three Methods:Interacting with Your BossBeing a Good WorkerFitting in at the Office

Working for a much older boss can be intimidating. Remember that you got the job because your boss believes in you and thinks you can bring something to the table. You can impress your boss by being a responsible hard-worker and knowing how to navigate your office.

Method 1
Interacting with Your Boss

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    Listen more than you speak. Because you are younger, your boss may make some assumptions about you. Your boss may think that you are less mature, inexperienced, and less knowledgeable. Speaking less will prevent you from saying something reckless and proving your boss right.[1].
    • Choose your words wisely and only speak when you need to. Avoid talking just to talk.
    • You will also learn a lot by observing and listening to your boss and coworkers.
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    Do not be afraid to ask questions. Your boss does not expect you to know everything. Asking questions demonstrates that you are humble and are willing to learn.[2] It is more damaging to get something wrong because you did not ask instead of asking a question and then producing quality work.
    • Try to figure out as much as you can on your own before approaching a coworker for advice or help. This way you can ask intelligent questions and show that you have tried to problem solve on your own.
    • When you receive an answer, listen and try to apply it to your work. Tell your boss, “Thank you for your insight. It was really helpful.”
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    Ask your boss for feedback. After you have been working for a few weeks, ask your boss for feedback about your performance. This shows your boss that you are thorough and take pride in your work. The feedback will also help you perform better at work and understand your boss’s expectations. Some questions you should ask include:[3]
    • I’ve been here for a few weeks. How do you think things are going?
    • Are there any areas that need improvement?
    • Is there anything that I should be focusing on?
    • What are your expectations for the first month? 6 months out?
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    Determine what is important to the boss. You can learn about your boss by observing or by asking direct questions. Pay attention to how your boss prefers to communicate and how your boss interacts with other employees. Most supervisors have particular things that are very important to them such as neatness, tardiness etc. Find out what is important to your boss and do what counts.[4]
    • For example, if you notice that your boss prefers emails over in-person interactions, use email as your primary method of communication.

Method 2
Being a Good Worker

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    Be a reliable. Being reliable will help build trust and show that you are serious about your job. This begins the day you step foot in your office. Your boss will notice that you are consistent and will respect your work ethic. As a reliable worker you should:[5]
    • Be early for work and meetings
    • Complete your projects and assignments early if possible.
    • Never turn anything in late
    • Never show up late for anything
    • Be careful what you promise and always deliver on what you promise.
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    Be proactive. Your actions will impress your boss more than anything you will ever say. If you see something that needs to be done, go ahead and do it. This will show your boss that you are a self-starter.[6]
    • Be willing to do tasks that your coworkers may have overlooked or are unwilling to do. For example, organizing electronic or paper files is not exciting work, but it is valuable and helpful to your workplace.
    • Listen to your boss and coworkers for hints about things that need to be done. You may overhear conversations about projects that need extra support.
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    Do not make excuses. If you make a mistake, take responsibility for your part. Apologize for what happened and take steps to make sure you do not make the same mistake. Your willingness to apologize and take action will be appreciated.[7]
    • If someone else was involved in the incident, do not blame them or mention their name.
    • Accept any consequences for your mistake with a good attitude.
    • Sit and think about what you could have done differently and exactly where you went wrong. It may help to write down your thoughts and a plan of action.
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    Project confidence. Even if you feel nervous or intimidated, it is important that you come across as confident and capable. If you doubt yourself, your boss will doubt you as well. Make eye contact, stand up straight, and smile when you are talking to others.[8]
    • Avoid gestures that make you appear nervous such as bouncing your leg up and down, twiddling your thumbs, or playing with your hair or accessories.[9]
    • Do not cross your arms or hide them behind your back either. This makes you appear closed off.

Method 3
Fitting in at the Office

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    Dress to impress. Pay attention to how your boss and coworkers dress and then dress a step above everyone else. For example, if everyone is wearing jeans and t-shirts, then you would wear a nice pair of jeans and a button down shirt or blouse. This will help your boss take you more seriously.[10]
    • Be careful not to completely out dress your boss and coworkers. If you work in a casual office, do not wear a suit to work. Always dress appropriately for your office culture.
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    Learn as much as you can about your company. As a younger worker, you will be surrounded by people with more experience and knowledge. Your boss needs to see that you are well-informed and can keep up with your coworkers. Read your company’s website, social media pages, and news releases.[11]
    • Continue to do this even after you are hired. Set aside time each week to read about the field you are working in.
    • You can also read any websites or publications that are related to your field and profession.
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    Adapt to the office culture. Pay attention to the time that people come to and leave work. How long are usual lunch breaks? Do people collaborate on work or work silently on their own?[12]
    • For example, if you are supposed to get off at 5:00 pm, but notice that people tend to leave around 5:15 pm, stick around until 5:30 pm. You do not want to be the first out of the door at 5:00 pm on the dot.
    • You do not want to stand out for the wrong reasons. Adjust your work style so that you fit in with the culture.
    • If you notice any negative traits such as excessive lunch breaks or socializing too much, do not engage in those. For example, if people tend to have 30 minute conversations that are not related to work, chat for about 5 minutes and then return to your work. You are still socializing without hurting your work performance.


  • Remember that your actions and performance are what will impress your boss the most. You do not have to be best friends or completely relate to your boss.

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Categories: Interacting with Bosses