Once the excitement of your new job wears off, the hard work sets in. To be an effective supervisor, you'll need to set specific goals for yourself and your crew -- to get the ball rolling in the right direction. And if you're a co-worker turned supervisor, your first goal should be to politely -- yet firmly -- draw the line between buddy and boss.
You won’t get much done as a new supervisor without long-term vision. What would you like your department to look like one year from now, or even five years from now? It’s fine if you don’t plan on sticking around that long, but you need to create a definite road map since you’re in the driver’s seat for now. Should productivity and profits be higher? Should costs come down? Do your employees need more training and experience? Use your boss brush to paint the future in broad strokes.
Once you create an exhaustive list of innovations and renovations you’d like to develop over time, break your complicated long-term goals into step-by-step short term goals. What needs to happen in the next six months? Three months? Three weeks? This week? Before your big picture can be actualized, you need to color in the details.
Studies show that employees are more enthusiastic about achieving goals they’ve had a part in setting, according to gNeil, a company that specializes in HR solutions. As a new supervisor, hold a meeting with your workers and gather their input about what initiatives should be accomplished -- and how. Hold a brainstorming session (with snacks and goodies) to mine ideas about how to make your collective vision a reality.
While the goals you set for yourself and your employees should be challenging, they should also be manageable and sustainable. You’ll likely be met with resistance if you set the bar too high. In the long run, it will be more productive for your staff to gradually increase confidence in their own abilities -- and in your ability to lead -- than to become frustrated with trying to meet unrealistic expectations.
Its important that the attainment of your goals be visible and measurable, to both monitor and motivate employees with regular progress updates. Create an interactive system for recording your accomplishments; perhaps a bulletin board or specialized computer software.
Praise and Support
To keep your team working hard for you, offer genuine praise for every effort, improvement and achievement. Reward employees with positive attention, encouraging words, compliments and tangible rewards for measured results, such as gift cards, free lunches and other company-related incentives. For workers having trouble getting the hang of your new initiatives, offer patience and assistance.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.