Career Builder did a survey of first-time supervisors and found that 58% had no prior training on how to do the job. Problems like disciplinary action, boundaries, new relationships with former peers, and doing peer reviews are just some of what they encountered.
We know this lack of preparation is a problem based on the increased turnover related to the supervisor-employee relationship. But what can be done?
Basic supervisory skills can be learned, that is the good news. Communication skills, conflict resolution, performance appraisal skills, and others can be learned over time. Taking the time to interact with your new supervisor on a regular basis will be a big help to them gaining confidence.
Being promoted to a supervisor for the first time is a career-defining move. Making the transition from employee to supervisor elevates you above the people who were your peers. It is a move that creates opportunities but also carries risks. Be proactive and have your manager and others in the company help you develop the skills you will need to be successful.
Making the Transition
According to a survey of first-time managers conducted by CareerBuilder, 26 percent of first-time managers were not ready for the responsibilities of the job and 58 percent had no management training. Problems encountered included issues between co-workers, networking, performance reviews, finding resources, and designing career paths for the team members. Addressing these problems requires you to assume a new relationship with your former peers. There is now a distance between you and them, and while you can be friendly, you cannot be chummy.
Maintaining Open Communications
One of your first tasks as a manager is to meet with your employees one on one. While you may have known some for years, this will be your first personal meeting in your new role. Discuss their aspirations and set goals so that each has a personal development plan. By enlisting their cooperation, you can motivate them and raise the standards and productivity for the entire team. A key to creating a productive and happy workplace is open communication. Maintain transparency between you and your employees and you will deflect and eliminate much of the office gossip that saps employee morale.
Delegating Work They Can Handle
Delegating is a skill that can elevate your employees’ status as well as your own if you handle it properly. Some supervisors do not delegate important tasks, because they fear work will not be done properly. They reserve meaningful work for themselves, delegating the mundane to their employees. The result is an overworked supervisor and bored and demoralized employees. Others delegate too much, with insufficient instructions, resulting in poor quality work and more frustration among employees. When you delegate, be sure the assignments are right for the employees. Take time to show how the work fits into the bigger picture and establish checkpoints to be certain the work is correct and on schedule. When employees accomplish challenging tasks, their skill levels, and morale rise, and you win because your group is more productive.
Coaching the Team
Inevitably, some employees will need help reaching their potential and your expectations. Even-handed treatment is vital. If an employee feels he is being singled out and held to a different standard, his morale and productivity suffer, and your concern becomes a self-fulfilling reality. If his performance is sub-par, he needs coaching. If you discuss personal development with each of your employees on a continuing basis, then the extra coaching you give a lagging employee will blend with the rest. If you have questions about how to address these issues, meet with your manager. You can also ask other supervisors who are more experienced than you.