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A New Supervisor’s First Day on the Job

A New Supervisor's First Day on the JobA new supervisor’s first day on the job can be a stressful one. It may be that the supervisor was recently promoted and is now managing the work of individuals with whom she was a peer. Or, it may be a newly hired supervisor in the organization starting on day one not knowing anyone in the group. Regardless of the situation, take these simple first day best practice steps to acclimate to your new job.

Prior to your first day, ask your immediate manager to arrange to introduce you to the team (unless you already know them) and arrange for either a group lunch or, if you have a large staff, arrange for small group lunches over the next week. This enables you to spend a bit of time getting to know your employees and letting them get to know you on a more personal level.

If you already know the group and used to work with them (as a co-worker,) reach out yourself to arrange to meet with folks in either small groups or one-on-one.

Day one:

  • When you arrive, take some time to get yourself settled in your office/workspace.
  • Have your immediate manager walk around with you and introduce you to the team (as previously arranged) or, if these are folks you have worked with before, walk around and say “good morning,” and confirm already scheduled meetings.
  • Meet with your immediate manager to understand his/her expectations of you on the job.
  • Meet with peers in other departments who you will likely be working alongside. They can help you to understand the culture of the organization in which you are working, along with “ins and outs” of the job.

In the following week, during the initial meetings (for individuals you do not know), discuss:

  • Successes in their role
  • Challenges in their role
  • Your employee’s expectations of you (what do they need/want from you as a supervisor)
  • Ask about their skills, experiences, expertise
  • Talk a bit about yourself and your own experiences

For employees who were previously peers, focus on how you will work together moving forward. Your goal is to establish yourself as the supervisor but without coming on too strong. Talk with your employees about how you will work together moving forward. If there are situations where employees have, in the past, complained about their jobs or others in the group, let them know that you are starting from scratch. This increases their comfort level that you won’t be holding personal conversations over their head, and, frankly, just in case you initiated some of those conversations, let’s them know you’d like to start fresh too.

Most importantly, do not start the role with a list of changes you want to make within the department. Take the time to learn about the department and the group you are managing. Even if you were previously in that department as a co-worker to those you are now managing, still take time to acclimate to your new role and let others get comfortable with the fact that you are now their supervisor and not their peer.