I recently conducted a training session on supervisory skills and the
question was raised about first time supervisors. I had a mixed group - some
had a tremendous amount of management experience, whilst others were fairly
new to this position. Driving home after this session, it got me thinking - what
advice would I give first time supervisors?
Here's my list:
Recognition: Everyone enjoys being recognized but all
people do not want to be recognized the same way.
Friends vs Colleagues: Don't try to be everyone's friend.
(Now I?m not saying be unfriendly) but there?s a difference. If at one point you
need to discipline an employee or deliver bad news, they may not take you
seriously and this can cause awkward situations.
Ask for input, feedback or help: Most Supervisors are
under the impression they should know everything. Here's the good news - you
are not expected to know everything and have all the answers. Being a
supervisor means we should be able to find all the answers, not that all the
answers are located in our heads.
Effective Meetings: People complain about meetings all
the time - They say it's unproductive, too long and time wasting. Develop a
reputation for chairing a good meeting. Staff will attend your meetings and
engage at a great level. This will result in productiveness and measurable
Time out: Let's not sugar coat it - most times becoming a
supervisor includes extra work. Learn to effectively manage your workload. Your
team relies upon you to be healthy and energetic. Positive energy feeds positive
Fair vs Equal: Employees want to be treated fairly. It's
possible to be fair and not give everyone the same thing
Master the art of delegation: Remember point #3? We
always tend to think the only way a job gets done is if we do it ourselves. As a
Supervisor you are responsible for making sure the task is completed, so learn
how to delegate correctly.
Find a mentor: Sometimes as a supervisor, you will have
access to confidential matters that you cannot share with employees. Find a
person and place where you can talk in private. Whether that person is HR, at
home or even your pet. Just make sure you can trust that the source will handle
the conversation appropriately.
Grab opportunities with both hands: It does not matter
how long you're in the corporate/business world, never ever turn down training.
Funny enough you can even learn from bad training.
Learn to confidently say No: Be able to say no
comfortable and confidently. Not everything has to be yes.
Supervisors directly oversee employees: If you learn to
focus on the necessity to empower teams through delegation and to
communicate effectively through motivation, problem solving and conflict
management skills then you will have a successful team. Remember - Successful
teams reflect successful leaders.
What tips do you have for first-time supervisors? Please share them in the
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What do you think?
What makes a good supervisor?