Home » New in a Management Role?; A Primer for First-Time Supervisors

New in a Management Role?; A Primer for First-Time Supervisors

  • You can’t be friends with everyone. This is one of the hardest aspects of being a manager for people moving out of the rank and file.  They tend to feel like traitors to their peers.  You don’t need to stop being friendly and sociable.  You do need to enforce policies and discipline employees whenever necessary.
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate. Of course, there are many things only you can do, but empower your team to make as many decisions and perform as many duties as makes sense.  I once managed a team whose members had leadership potential that was clear from the beginning.  I empowered team members with extra duties and this prepared them for the higher caliber positions they hold today.  Don’t let yourself feel like you’re passing the buck–congratulate yourself for sharing power appropriately and developing leaders (which is what the best leaders do).  You deprive your team of the right to grow if you don’t let them take responsibilities that are appropriate (or just beyond) their current level of skill.  Remember: you’re not responsible for every task—you’re responsible for making sure every task is completed.
  • Practice saying “no”. Learn to say “no” to those you supervise–and your supervisor.  Saying “no” to your employees goes along with not being B.F.F.’s to them.   But what about when your supervisor asks you to take on another project, program, or duty?   Because I’m high performing and don’t let my stress show, I’m often the first person to get asked to take extra work on.  With a supervisor, I don’t give a hard no.  I’m a team player and want to be seen as such so I’m straightforward: “I want to assist and I’m concerned about being able to manage the project well on top of my other duties.  How would you like me to accomplish this?”  I’d enquire into what resources would be at my disposal  (is there a duty I’m responsible for that I could pass off to someone else temporarily so I can tend to the project at hand?  is there someone I could co-manage the project with to make it more manageable?  will overtime be available?).   Asking questions such as these will put you in a better negotiating position than if you accept extra responsibilities carte blanche.
  • Perfect the art of running a good meeting. People will attend and participate–or complain and make excuses not to attend–depending on the quality of your meetings.  Take care to make them productive and relevant yet fun and not too long.
  • Find appropriate avenues for relaxation and venting. You need to develop healthy habits to decompress from the stress of a management position.  This could mean going for a run, attending a yoga class, or taking time out to talk with a trusted co-worker.  Relaxation deserves to be a high priority in your life and I urge you to take it seriously–it can mean the difference between quitting (because prolonged pressure without relief can become too much to bear) and being able to manage and thus staying in your job.  Find someone at or above your leadership level or in HR that you can talk with from time to time.