Management Tips··8 min read

How to Be a Good Supervisor - A Beginners Guide

How to Be a Good Supervisor

Have you been recently promoted to a supervisory role and want to be a good supervisor? Do you want to hit the ground running and excel at your new job? Here are the tips new supervisors need to know to become effective leaders with a top-performing teams.

Give Your Team Time to Adapt to You

If you’re a first-time supervisor, it’s normal if you’re a little too excited about cementing your authority. After all, you want your team to know exactly who’s the boss around these parts. However, making drastic changes without your team’s feedback can upset the existing balance.

People are naturally averse to change, and when it comes in the form of a boss with dictatorship tendencies, they will not respond well. So, it’s best to ease into your role by making incremental changes and taking the time to figure out the dynamics of your new team. This allows everyone to adapt to the new setup without feeling blindsided.

Understand the Difference Between Team Member and Team Leader

You might be ready to be a new supervisor, but you must also ensure that you have fully embraced your role. The transition can be difficult, especially if you’re a former member of the team you’re leading. That’s because you may have developed close relationships with some team members.

Some may still be your friends that you used to meet at the water cooler to gossip about the boss. Also, you may now be leading team members you didn’t get along with. However, in your new supervisory role, it’s important not to let this affect your actions. Remember, your new role is to bring the team together so it functions cohesively.

A good supervisor treats everyone equally and does not let their personal feelings or social life color their judgment. That means you should never give preferential treatment when disciplining an old friend. Once you demonstrate your impartiality, it’s easier to gain credibility and earn respect from your team.

Delegate but Don’t Micromanage

As a former employee who’s now a supervisor, you’re coming from a position where you used to handle tasks. Instead of taking on all the work, you now have to look past your individual contributions and figure out how to use your team’s talents for maximum effect.

That means getting to know the people that report directly to you and what they excel at. For instance, if one team member has exceptional selling skills, you might want to capitalize on their strengths by having them spearhead a client presentation.

While on the subject of delegating, you must do so while giving your team enough room to handle the assigned tasks. Micromanaging is an easy trap that most managers fall into, especially if they’re new on the job.

That’s because most managers are eager to prove their management skills by ensuring the successful completion of projects. But if you rely on micromanaging to feel like you’re in control, you’ll end up overwhelming your team, which reduces productivity.

Instead of constant interruptions and frequent check-ups, you should not only delegate tasks but give your team the authority to complete those tasks the best way they know how. Provide constructive feedback where necessary but always let your team know you trust their capabilities.

Learn the Core Supervisory Skills

There are five basic skills should be on every new supervisor checklist:

  • Leadership - A good supervisor also needs to be a good leader. Leadership is all about guiding your team, setting expectations, and developing skills and abilities to boost performance.
  • Communication - Being a strong communicator is an essential soft skill that helps improve your relationship with your team. It helps get your message across and ensures everyone understands the expectations you set for them.
  • Technical skills - Having the right technical skills allows you to immerse yourself fully into your team’s experiences. You’ll be in a better position to provide guidance when your team needs advice related to the technical aspects of a project.
  • Time managementHaving great time management skills is one of the most important roles of a supervisor. For instance, you must be able to set deadlines, schedule tasks, and sit over meetings. All these are crucial to overall performance because every second should be productive for the organization. So, take the time to sharpen your time management skills.
  • Judgmental - You may be called on to make decisions or judge employee performance. Therefore, your judgment skills should be wise, unbiased, and backed by experience, though this may take time.

Get A Mentor or A Coach

A supervisor who’s new on the job can also benefit from having a coach or mentor. This may be another leader in the organization or your direct superior. They can join you on projects and liaise with your team members to get valuable feedback that helps improve your performance.

Typically, a good coach or mentor can do this without undermining your authority. Instead, they will provide insights you might not have obtained on your own. You can also ask them questions and get answers and advice that helps you be a good supervisor and appear more confident in front of your team.

Rely on Feedback for Continuous Improvement

At the end of the workday, being a good supervisor is all about relating well with your team. So, it’s a good idea to rely on their feedback and use it to make necessary adjustments to your performance.

You can schedule group or one-on-one meetings to gather employee feedback or use other channels that allow anonymous feedback. This not only enables you to streamline your operations, but it gives your team the chance to be heard, which makes them feel valued.

Be a Good Supervisor and Keep it Up

As a first-time supervisor, these are the top tips you should prioritize to thrive and grow in your new role. Of course, a supervisor’s job is never done, and as you expand into your role, you’ll find there are more supervisory skills to learn.

But the trick to being a great supervisor is to be a good supervisor for starters, so use the advice above to jumpstart your career in management.


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