Being Promoted from Peer to Supervisor
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Being Promoted from Peer to Supervisor

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Moving from an individual contributor role to a supervisory position comes with great excitement, great responsibility, yet great hesitation. Here are some of the know-how, skills, and confidence to be effective in transition to leading others.


Moving from an individual contributor role to a supervisory position comes with great excitement, great responsibility, yet great hesitation. Here are some of the know-how, skills, and confidence to be effective in transition to leading others.


Some people are promoted because they have great leadership potential. Others are promoted because they have great knowledge and abilities in a particular area. The right skills, focus and mindset can jumpstart a new supervisor’s personal awareness and effectiveness. Strategies for effective interactions, even in the most challenging and uncomfortable situations, can build much needed trust and relationships for effective and engaged employees.


Putting aside your own technical knowledge, even if for a portion of each day is important. You were an expert in that skill, but now you begin your journey towards great leadership. As a supervisor, discover and understand what your employees want. This is especially true with employees who are both highly skilled and highly motivated.

Do they want a leader who chips in and works along with them? Yes? Then specifically ask that question and then act. This is also how some people feel appreciated. Just being there, working with them, can show them you care. But be careful. At this point, it is a healthy consideration to first make sure that they will feel appreciated by this, rather than micromanaged. Also, consider taking a backseat to become a helper rather than a task leader. This is important. Think of it this way: a good supervisor leads people, not tasks. That is a notion worth pausing on for a few moments on…


Of course, there are possible exceptions to some of the rules in this article, like when working with individuals with low skill and low motivation. If you are in a training role, this may be another exception, and that is a whole other article. A good leader recognizes other's talents and makes people even stronger and areas that they see themselves “good at.” They provide them opportunity to use and apply their strengths to current and new rules. This is the beginning of delegating, which is what effective supervisors do well.


But what if you are a new leader to your peers and assume that a previous supervisor was already effective in the concepts discussed here? Assume differently. Although this sounds simple and it surely can be, it's astounding how many supervisors do not do this. Chances are, if you focus on the employee as much as you are planning to at this very moment, and target your focus on making them feel appreciated, competent, and talented, it's a good bet that this is a first for them. And if it's not? You can grow them in a unique way using your own talents and style of appreciation.


Being promoted is a great opportunity. If you meet that challenge, the greatest opportunity however is not yours, it belongs to those you supervise. Focus on this message. Speak this message and use it to communicate to others just how much you notice, understand, and appreciate what they bring to the team and company. Reaffirm that you are an advocate for them, trust them, and focus on their development and professional success.


Yes, there are times when coaching and mentoring are needed before, during, and after a direct report’s assignment. As a new supervisor, how do you develop them, build trust, and grow as a leader? It is a balancing act. Even though you have expertise in a skill or subject matter, it's time to start letting go. The letting go is not of a skill or knowledge. Rather, the letting go is of control, power, and judgment.


Letting go of control means delegating. Letting go of power means allowing others to make decisions, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes. Letting go of judgment means letting others do things their way. No, this does not mean allowing others to go rogue and ignore policy and standard operating procedures (SOPs). It does mean that there are significant opportunities to 1) allow others to thrive and 2) find better methods.


Interested in using your EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING process as leverage for EMPLOYEE RETENTION? Grab your free TurnBoot guide, written by Dr. Jeremy Lucabaugh: 6 Unique Onboarding Elements for Small Companies with High Employee Turnover and Limited Resources.



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