Understand that your immediate supervisor may very well be younger than you are, significantly younger. Degreed with a Master’s and perhaps with a PhD in progress, he commands a higher salary and is (on paper anyway) smarter than you. He is possessed of an attitude of superiority and to add insult to injury, is thinner, more chic, and hipper than you. He has friends in the office as well as management’s ear, and you feel like the odd man out.
Threatened, you seriously dislike this character and can almost feel the steam dissipating from your body every time he crosses the threshold of your cubicle. Have you considered that, because you do possess a deeper well of business knowledge and a keener understanding of office politics, that your young supervisor may, in fact, be threatened by you? As this could very well be the case, cultivate an attitude of teamwork and sharing, and manifest that attitude through action. It sounds trite, but in the end, this strategy will benefit you both when upper management witnesses the improvements you have made, as a team, in efficiency and productivity.
Suppose this scenario goes the other way? What is the best plan of attack if you uncover evidence that your supervisor has attempted and perhaps succeeded in making your work and attitude appear less than stellar — either by rattling you and distracting your focus, or through outright sabotage? Your best plan is not, and we repeat, not to attack. Instead, be professional.
Please read Part Three of our series to understand your options for remaining calm, professional, and most of all, heard.