10 Tips for First Time Supervisors

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?

sueprvisorHere’s my list:

  1. Master the art of delegation. Remember point #4? 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.
  2. Recognition: Everyone enjoys being recognized but all people do not want to be recognized the same way.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 results.
  6. 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 minds.
  7. Fair vs Equal: Employees want to be treated fairly. It’s possible to be fair and not give everyone the same thing
  8. 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 J. Just make sure you can trust that the source will handle the conversation appropriately.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 comments below.

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