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Becoming a Supervisor

Getting a promotion, becoming a manager, team leader or supervisor is satisfying and challenging. You have earned the position by demonstrating your skills and capabilities, but it can still be daunting and you need to prove to yourself and the team, as well as to your supervisor, that you can do the job.

There are many reasons why you might feel challenged or even a bit overwhelmed in your new role, but you may also feel excited by the challenge and ready to get on with the job.

Your energy and commitment will help to balance some of the challenges.

What you can do:

  • Understand your role and your responsibilities: Pay attention to your relationship with your supervisor or manager. You need to understand what is expected of you, what the organisation’s goals and priorities are and where your team fits in.
  • Communication: Whatever the issue, it is important to communicate clearly with your team; good communication goes hand-in-hand with good listening.
  • Transparency: When you are new to your role, it is especially important to consult staff and acknowledge about their areas of expertise and the fact that you have a lot to learn from them. You can also earn respect by keeping them informed about the organisation’s goals and priorities, to the extent that you can.
  • Be a role model: As a manager, you are a role model, so you need to think about your work habits, the way you treat staff, following through with your commitments, admitting your mistakes and how you manage a crisis or difficult situation.
  • Prioritising: Learn to prioritise your work. This means you need to be flexible – your major task is to achieve the team’s objectives, but sometimes you need to divert and put your energy into the team to ensure its morale is high. Prioritising, setting goals, allocating tasks and deciding timelines helps you and the team feel in control of the workload.
  • Being yourself and knowing yourself: It’s helpful to reflect about yourself and your role, to know your skills and limitations, to understand what motivates you and excites you about work. You are not the person who was the manager before you-you need to do things your way. You need to make changes thoughtfully, not just because you want to establish your mark. It will be helpful to the team if you explain your reasons for making a particular decision. Acknowledge that being the boss is different from being a team member, and explain what is expected of you, but try not to be aloof.
  • Talk matters over: It is important that you have someone you trust to talk over your goals and the issues you find difficult
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