10 Tips For First-Time Supervisors

by Sharlyn Lauby

At one of my training sessions recently, we had a discussion about being a first-time supervisor. While the group had a tremendous amount of management experience, everyone recognized how hard it can be in that very first supervisory role. Driving home after the session, it got me thinking – what advice would I have wanted when I first became a supervisor?

So I decided to put together a list:

  1. Don’t try to be everyone’s friend. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be friendly. There’s a difference. But it’s not realistic to think that you can be everyone’s friend. Especially if at some point you need to discipline an employee or deliver bad news. This is particularly true if you’ve “moved up through the ranks” and are supervising recent coworkers.
  2. Fair and equal are not the same thing. Employees want to be treated fairly. It’s possible to be fair and not give everyone the same thing. Recognition is a good example. Everyone enjoys being recognized but all people do not want to be recognized the same way.
  3. Ask for feedback and input. You don’t have to know everything. Often we put additional pressure on ourselves by assuming incorrectly that being a supervisor means we need to 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.
  4. Learn how to run a good meeting. People complain about meetings all the time. Developing a reputation for chairing a good meeting will do wonders for your career – because people will attend your meetings and participate at a high level. This leads to productive conversations and measurable results.
  5. Find time to relax. Let’s not sugar coat it – most times becoming a supervisor includes extra work. We must be able to effectively manage our workload without getting burned out. Our team relies upon us to be healthy and energetic. Otherwise, we’re a drain on the organization.

To read #5-10, Click Here.