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Prepare New Supervisors to Manage Staff

Too often individual contributors are promoted into supervisory roles with no prior experience managing others. And, sometimes, limited experience collaborating with others or working as part of a team on an initiative.

This only sets them up for excessive stress, frustration and potential failure in their new role managing others. It may risks setting up their staff for their own frustrations. Goals are not met. Employees become disengaged. And hard-working, valuable employees (your new supervisors) who might have done well had they been trained in their new role may leave the organization.

Leaders can’t drop someone into a new role where (s)he will be managing people and not help the new supervisor to be successful. To help your new supervisors to be successful managing the work of others, ensure they have skills and knowledge around:

  • Time management and delegation
  • Goal setting
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Conflict management
  • Performance management/providing feedback
  • Team building
  • Meeting facilitation

Additionally, evaluate the emotional intelligence of your new supervisors. Individuals with higher emotional intelligence levels will be better able to manage the stress and frustration that comes along with managing others.

Don’t just train your new supervisors and think they are now ready to go. Ensure they have the support to apply their newly learned skills and acquired knowledge. Consider a mentor and the use of a portal where new supervisors can get answers to challenges, share their best practices with others and continue the learning.

Have new supervisors develop a 30, 60, 90 and 120 day plan – what will they accomplish in this time? Have the new supervisor’s manager check in with their employee regularly on the progress toward achieving against that plan.

Before you promote another individual contributor to a supervisory role, consider what is needed in training and support to enable for their success.

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