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Tips for New Supervisors

publication date: Feb 3, 2014
author/source: mark.shead

Tips for New Supervisors

by mark.shead

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This is a collection of tips for new supervisors. The advice is useful to anyone in a management position. Most people are thrown into supervisory positions with very little in the way of training or guidance. These tips for supervisors can help you be proactive in avoiding problems that can occur further down the road.

  • Know the Rules – In order to be an effective supervisor, you need to be aware of your organization’s policies and procedures. If you don’t, you’ll likely make promises you can’t keep or deal with situations inappropriately simply because you don’t understand the correct procedure. The procedures and policies are there to help you make good decisions even when you are under pressure or time constraints.
  • Manage Up – Don’t forget that your relationship upward is just as important as your relationships with the people you supervise. Don’t expect your boss to be competent just because he or she is the boss. Take the time to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Anticipate problems ahead of time being proactive to help your boss succeed.
  • Build a Base of Influence – Develop relationships across your organization. People need to know who you are and like you. The fact that someone likes you can go a long ways in helping you out of political situations or when someone else is opposing you. If people know who you are and like you, they will start from the standpoint of assuming that you are a good person. If they don’t know who you are, they will start from the standpoint of whoever is talking to them.
  • Develop a Separate Social Life – Make sure you aren’t completely reliant on your coworkers and direct reports for your social life needs. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever do things outside of work with your co-workers, but if your only friends are at work, you are putting yourself in a dangerous situation. If your social and work life are too intertwined, it can cloud your judgment in ways that can be harmful to your career.
  • Master Performance Reviews – Effective performance reviews require a lot of work on your part, but having a good process is one of the most important ways you set and track employee achievement and goals. If done correctly, performance reviews are a great tool and something both supervisor and employee can look forward to. Whether you use a simple paper based system or some type of performance review software, take the time to make sure the process helps drive the behavior and environment you want to create.
  • Walk the Talk – Just because you are a supervisor doesn’t give you an excuse to break the rules. You shouldn’t be asking people to do things that they don’t see you doing yourself.
  • Keep Good Records – Keep good records of interactions and issues. Modern work environments are political and often full of lawsuits. By keeping good records, you’ll put yourself in a much better position to stop frivolous claims before they become problems.

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