We try to provide  opportunities for growth within our organizations. In this article we will look at what a brand-new supervisor or manager might need to be successful in their new role.

Group of businessmen and businesswomen sitting and talking at a table with laptops during a board meeting.

In an optimal situation, you would have been able to provide them with training leading up to their new position by continually developing a training track to leadership. The intent of this training track is to allow employees who have an interest in leadership to take a few of the available classes and thus identify themselves as having leadership aspirations. The employee also receives a glimpse of what supervision really entails, and decide if supervision or management is truly something they wish to pursue.   Once in a supervisory role, the training track expands to include mandatory education that would answer many of the questions the new manager the role may have.

One of the most important questions to answer early on is how to transition from a peer to a supervisor. This transition is often more difficult than the new manager expects, as the move to supervisor requires them to draw a very clear line between personal and professional. Assist your new manager in setting clear boundaries and in dealing with the feelings that arise as they transfer from “friend” to “being friendly.”

The ways in which communication styles change as a manager is another area a new supervisor often has questions. Though communication at any level of your organization is important, help your new manager to realize that appropriate communication is critical to their success in their new role. They may be asked to support a decision they didn’t vote for or don’t agree with. In that instance, none of their employees should know their feelings. Their employees should see only support and encouragement. Encourage your new supervisor to consider their influence and to utilize that influence for good.

New managers often enter the situation with a sense of power over their employees. As most of us know, the power lies with their employees. Assist your new supervisor in that realization. Moving from peer to supervisor, your new manager will most likely know what is unpopular within their team. Encourage them to empower their team by asking their team members to create and champion solutions. They should also be encouraged to join their employees in the trenches from time to time, in order to remain connected to the current processes their team is utilizing.

Your new manager is going to make mistakes. Make sure they know the following:

  • Watch body language as it often tells a different story than the words someone is speaking.
  • Do not “fake it until you make it.” Ask questions! Make mistakes! This is how they will learn.
  • Micromanaging is rarely a good thing. Assign the task and then monitor progress.
  • Global view is important. When making decisions, consider how the decision will affect the departments and processes around it.

Above all, make sure your new manager is aware of the difference between treating people equally and treating people the same. If your new manager can understand what matters to each of their employees, they will be successful in their new role.