June 17, 2010 / 9:50 AM / 9 years ago

Management Tip of the Day: Managing Up As a Gen-Xer

A generic picture of an office. REUTERS/Catherine Benson

BOSTON (Reuters) - The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (www.hbr.org). Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

“Managing up is a critical and difficult skill for any employee, but managing up and across a generation is even more challenging. If you’re a Gen-Xer managed by a Boomer, try these three tips for bridging the generation gap and understanding what your Boomer boss wants from you:

1. Communicate your preferences. Often Boomers assume that Gen-Xers are younger versions of themselves. Don’t presume your boss knows what you’re thinking. Instead, articulate how you like to work and what your expectations are.

2. Take initiative. Before you ask why someone isn’t doing something, ask yourself whether it’s something you can take on. Boomers admire initiative. Just don’t fall short on your objectives because of a new assignment.

3. Earn your chips. Getting what you want or need largely depends on your ability to be viewed as a valuable contributor. Working hard and gaining visible wins can give you chips to trade in later.”

- Today’s Management Tip was adapted from “Gen-Xers and Their Careers” on the “Ask the Expert: Tammy Erickson” board of the HBR Answer Exchange.

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