The Realities of Supervision

Sections of this topic

    Is it time to strengthen your supervisory muscles?

    Here are insights from years of working with managers, teams, and new leaders on the realities of supervision. For some of you it may be “old hat”; for others an “ah’ha”. In either case, know that the moment you start taking things for granted, you stop being effective. So what can you learn from these seven supervisory principles.

    1. There is no routine to management work.
    Changes are that your old job came with a familiar routine. You performed the tasks assigned to you and you did them in a prescribed order. Some things had to be done by noon, while others had to be completed before you left for the day. As a rule, when the day’s work was done, your day was over. But for managers, there’s no such thing as “the day’s work,” so bid a fond farewell to routine.

    2. People and issues arrive un-prioritized.
    As a manager, you now have more people and issues to deal with. It’s your job to filter them for urgency and importance, and help employees stay focused by doing the same.

    3. People start acting differently towards you.
    You’re still the same person, but you’re in a different role. Some people withdraw from you; others want to get closer. Ultimately, your employees are dealing with managerial change in their own way and trying to figure out what kind of manager you really are.

    4. You have to give up your old job.
    You have a new job so don’t hang on to your old one. This can be hard. After all, it’s because of your previous success that you’ve been promoted. But failure to let go of your old job causes more problems for first-time managers than anything else.

    5. Guard against the perception that certain people are your favorites.
    Yesterday you had co-workers; today you have employees. While it’s only natural to like some individuals more than others you no longer have that luxury as manager. Employees are keenly aware of who has direct access to you. In the past, you had coffee or lunch with the same people every day, but if you keep this up, your employees will earmark these people as “your favorites.”

    6. Employees want their manager to manage them.
    Friendly behavior is great, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for good managing. Your employees expect you to deal with poor performers at work. You need to demonstrate that you won’t tolerate poor performance. If you’re fair and decisive, your good performers will give you their hard-earned respect and best effort.

    7. Don’t hold on to information, rather communicate, communicate, communicate.
    When you’re on an airplane and it encounters turbulence or the flight is delayed, you want to know what’s happening. Not knowing makes you nervous. Employees also want to know what’s happening — what’s causing the bumpy ride. If people don’t understand, then anxiety mounts, trust declines and rumors fly. The next thing you see is morale plummeting and work not getting done. That’s why ongoing communication is so important.

    Management Success Tip

    Understand your role had changed. You are now in charge tasked with getting work done through others. You must move from doing to delegating; from being liked to being respected; from holding on to letting go; from knowing all the answers to getting input from others.

    Do you want to develop your Management Smarts?