Tips In Leadership Skill Building For First Time Supervisors by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

Moving into a leadership role as a supervisor in any business or organization is a dramatic change, particularly for someone who was an employee and is now moving into management. Unfortunately, many new supervisors make common mistakes that can result in damaging relationships with their team and also damaging their reputation as a leader within the organization.

To help avoid these issues, and to start out your new role as a supervisor on the right foot, there are some simple strategies that anyone can use. These can be adjusted to meet the needs of the work environment and to create a seamless transition to the supervisory position.

What Makes A Good Supervisor?

A simple exercise you can on your own is to create a list of the best qualities you have experienced in the supervisors you have worked for in the past. List the things they did that made it a great place to work, helped you to achieve your goals, and maybe even inspired you.

Then, make a list of all the things you disliked when working for supervisors. Most people have worked for supervisors that micromanage, nag and belittle people, all which create a negative experience for the team.

Look for ways to embody and incorporate the values, behaviors, and practices of the top supervisors, while also keeping a close watch for negative management behaviors sneaking into your repertoire.

Focus on Success of Others  

The best supervisors focus on helping others to achieve their goals. This may be sales quotas or production levels, but these numbers can only be met if everyone on the team is successful.

As a supervisor, you will be evaluated by the performance of the team. Just keep in mind that sharing success and achievement is a simple way to support team achievement and to boost the team’s morale and sense of accomplishment.

Be Clear about Changing Roles

It can be very challenging to be a first-time supervisor if you have been promoted from within the team you are now managing. A supervisory relationship is different from a team member relationship, and addressing this up front in a positive and proactive way can save a lot of stress.

Let people know that you respect them and that what they do is important, but they also have to know that things are going to change in your interaction types and frequency.

While it is difficult, breaking away from social interactions and spending a lot of personal time with those you supervise is critical. Unfortunately, trying to maintain those friendships can put you in awkward situations of having to discipline a friend or being seen as treating friends different from other team members.

Identify a Mentor or Hire a Coach

A mentor within the organization that is at the same management level or above your level is a great resource. Choose someone you see as a positive role model who is a respected, effective manager and ask if she or he will be a mentor.

If you do not have someone in the organization, consider hiring a leadership coach. These professionals can help you to develop skills, clearly identify your values, and develop strategies for becoming the leader you want to be.