Posts tagged preparing new supervisors

Creating a Smooth Transition from Technician to Supervisor

When there’s a vacant supervisor position within your organization, it’s natural to look within. Who’s the best guy or gal we’ve got? You want to take your best technician and promote them because its logical to think that you’re best technician will naturally be a great supervisor. Maybe not?

“Often times growing companies take their best technician and promote him or her to a managing position. Just because you’re really great at your job, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be a great manager. Managing requires a much different skill set,” explains Rick Riddering, president of NorthStar360.

More than half of organizations (58 percent) do not offer a formal training program for new supervisors, according to a Career Builder survey. Although the technician has a familiarity of their previous job and may feel as though they know it “like the back of their hand,” their new role as manager brings with it unfamiliarity and uncertainty.

New supervisors cite specific challenges like:

  • Dealing with issues between co-workers on my team
  • Motivating team members
  • Performance reviews
  • Finding the resources needed to support the team
  • Creating career paths for my team

All size organizations can provide a formal training program for new supervisors. A basic training program should include education on key topics like giving and receiving feedback, resolving conflicts, and communicating as a manager. Organizations can also utilize a mentor program and pair new supervisors with veterans, and check in with new supervisors to keep the communication lines open.

“Investing in your new supervisors today will build a strong organization for the future,” says Riddering.

By providing new supervisors with training and development, organizations can save recruitment costs and the time associated with the learning curve a new employee would have. It also increases morale for employees who notice your organization promotes from within. NorthStar360’s “Mastering the Management Essentials” seminar would be an excellent training opportunity for a new (or seasoned) manager looking to be more effective. This seminar is coming up May 16 & 17 in Glenwood, IL and June 5 & 6 in Munster, IN. Check out for more info.

Preparing New Supervisors

Quite often organizations promote employees into positions of supervision because of their strong technical expertise. Suddenly these people find themselves with a whole new range of responsibilities. Not only are they new, many of them have little to do with the technical expertise that was their prior strength. With this being such a common occurrence, the question naturally arises as to what is the best way to prepare these people for these new challenges. Without the proper training during that transition process you could end up losing productivity and ultimately affecting the success of your company. These are mistakes that your business just simply cannot ignore. Take a look at these top mistakes made as well as possible responses from employees they supervise.

Top 10 Mistakes of New Supervisors

  1. Seizing power and attempting to hold onto it.
  2. Failing to solicit feedback.
  3. Delegating without authorizing.
  4. Reprimanding employees in the presence of others.
  5. Supervising everyone the same way.
  6. Keeping the interesting work for themselves.
  7. Siding with team members.
  8. Distancing themselves from those they supervise.
  9. Promoting an us versus them attitude.
  10. Engaging in illegal behaviors.

Potential Responses:

  • Low employee morale
  • Loss of respect from superiors
  • Low productivity
  • Legal ramifications
  • Poor individual performance
  • Negative career impact
  • Lack of organizational trust

In addition to the technical issues that they have already mastered, they now need some formal training to help prepare them, often times in the following areas.

  • Principles of motivation
  • Change management strategies
  • Ethics and politics in the workplace
  • Principles of planning
  • Managing their time
  • Workplace organization issues
  • Principles of delegation
  • Principles of work groups and teams
  • Staffing basics
  • Training principles
  • Equal employment opportunity (EEO) requirements
  • Counseling and supporting employees
  • Leadership principles
  • Conflict resolution and management
  • Principles behind appraisal and rewards
  • Basic labor law
  • Productivity issues
  • Managing a safe workplace

Most leaders are not born with these skills, they can be taught. Identify their strengths and weaknesses and develop plans to improve their individual competencies.