How to Prepare for a New Supervisory Role: Part 1

My name is Daryn Schiveley and the newest addition to the Developing Leaders Company. I am currently an M.B.A student at the University of La Verne pursuing my degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership and Management. Over the next few days, I will be giving you tips on how to prepare for a supervisory role.

Imagine you are fresh out of college and you landed a supervisory role. Awesome, right?

Then the fear of the unknown sinks in as you step into your new office with a huge amount of responsibility. That is where I come in to give you advice on how to become a successful leader.


“It has to be a real relationship. You need to know who they are as people, how they think, their hobbies and interests. Knowing where they’re coming from is critical when you’re going through the iterations.”—Paul Chibe, VP, US Marketing at Anheuser Busch

Get to know your employees on a professional and personal level. A good way to begin this process is to conduct a casual meeting with your employees. Begin with an Ice breaker to get your employees comfortable and willing to participate. Ice breakers are a great tool to use to begin teambuilding, build relationships, and productive communication.

The ultimate goal is to get people on your side and in doing so leadership expert, Warren Bennis states, “people trust you when you don’t play games with them, when you put everything on the table and speak honestly to them.” Your next step is to give your employees an idea of who you are on a professional and personal level. Tell them about your previous experience, hobbies, values, goals, etc. Show your employees your passion in helping them become successful.

The rest of the meeting your main focus is to listen, listen, listen. Ask what a typical day looks like in the office. This will give you an idea of what the company culture looks like. The last thing you want to do is join a company and immediately try to change the culture. You want to align your expectations according to the existing culture.

Ask your employees what they expect from you. How can you serve them to achieve their highest potential? Find out their values and philosophies. What are their hobbies? Interests? To be realistic, there will be employees that are not comfortable disclosing information yet because trust has not been established. I understand trust won’t be given in one meeting. Building relationships and trust will take time and hard work so it is important be consistently engaging with your employees by walking the halls and plant floors, meeting with small groups and casual individual meetings. Now I am sure you are thinking to yourself, this is all great but what about results?? Once you have begun establishing relationships and trust with your employees you will notice their productivity will begin to increase. When you show them interest and passion, they will want to follow you and produce results to be successful.

You want your employees to feel comfortable with you; however, it is important to set ground rules and expectations. When the open door policy is “too open” you run the risk of getting taken advantage of. It is important to find the balance between getting to know your employees and getting results.

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