Ex-Navy SEAL: What to do if you have more experience than your boss

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Former Navy SEAL: What to do if you're more experienced than your boss

If you're older or more experienced than your boss, it can be tempting to feel resentful or even like you could be entitled to their job.

But that attitude is not only detrimental to your boss and the coworkers on your team, "it's detrimental to you," says leadership coach and former U.S. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink.

"Because when the team and the senior people on the team look at you and look at your attitude, they see that you have a negative attitude — now what are your chances of being promoted? What are your chances of being put in charge of another project when you didn't even have the maturity to be humble, to take a backseat and support the project that was being undertaken?"

No matter how much more experience you may have than your boss, put your ego in check and support them, Willink tells CNBC Make It: "Make sure that you've done everything in your power to educate that leader, to help them make good decisions, to guide them in the right direction."

Former US Navy SEALs Jocko Willink (L) and Lefi Babin (R).
Jocko Willink

At the end of the day, "you want to make that leader look good," Willink continues, because "when your team wins, you're going to win."

Plus, choosing to be a team player and support your boss can actually hone your leadership skills so that you'll be ready when it's your turn.

"One of the key components of being a leader is knowing how to follow," says Willink, adding: If you "can't take a second seat to anybody else on the team, what that tells me is you are immature and you're not ready to lead in the first place."

Don't miss: Ex-Navy SEAL commander: What to do when coworkers aren't pulling their weight

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