Assuming a New Supervisory Position

Back to Leadership & Management

You have been promoted and you are now a supervisor. You are pleased but you are also concerned that you were promoted over your friends and will now have to supervise them. You are stressed by all you have to learn and wonder if you can demonstrate that you deserved the promotion.

Tips for a Smooth Transition 

  • Realize that you will not have all of the answers to the challenges you face. Show trust and respect by asking veteran supervisors or managers to guide you. By listening and observing, you may be offered answers to your questions. 
  • Remember that management thought you were capable of handling the job. You will develop confidence as you get comfortable in your new role. As you show that you are a hard worker with good ideas, you will earn the respect of your managers, colleagues and of those you now supervise. 
  • Ask for the support of your employees and show that you value and respect them. By offering sincere praise and setting departmental goals that build cohesiveness, your staff will know that they are important to you and to your organization. 
  • As you interact with former co-workers, remain caring and friendly but your level of interaction will need to change. It is best to follow your own style and personality as you develop a professional posture with former colleagues. And, be careful not to use your position to favor friends or to punish enemies. You should base all of your decisions with regards to your staff on work performance. 
  • Learn what you can from (and about the style and approaches of) your predecessor. Recognizing your predecessor’s strengths and weaknesses will help you decide which policies to continue and which to change. 
  • When learning your new job, establish small goals. Take time to understand the department before you make unnecessary changes. Avoid major changes until you have built trust that your ideas are solid. You will then earn the respect of your colleagues and staff alike.