While someone may be a truly awesome worker bee, she may not excel quite so easily as a leader. At all costs, you want to avoid promoting someone to the level of her incompetence. Instead, train a new supervisor to meet and exceed very specific goals. Give her direction and a mentor on whom she can call when the new role gets hairy.
Instead of expecting new supervisors to know what you want from them, spell it out. Write up a list of expectations, duties and tasks that must be done daily. Create a list of duties that includes checking employee time sheets, reporting on uniform and dress code violations, handing out daily assignments and checking to make sure work is done correctly. Give the new supervisor a list of reports that she must complete as well as dates they are due. Write out the department goals she’s expected meet so there’s no confusion.
Hold Formal Training Sessions
Create formal training sessions and train more than one new supervisor at a time if you can. Even if you are only promoting one person, develop a session that is set away from the office or in a separate room so that you don’t get interrupted. Go over everything from company policies to department performance goals. Show the new supervisor where to find documents in the computer to fulfill her duties. Give her manuals, passwords and access codes during the formal training. Turn over the key and go over the opening and closing procedures of the business. Work from a predetermined checklist so you don’t leave any pertinent information out before cutting her loose.
It’s imperative that supervisors know what you and other department heads are up to. It’s vital that new supervisors know who does what, when each process occurs and how the workflow is completed. Introduce the new supervisor to other department heads and let her know who is responsible for which aspects of the workflow. Give the new supervisor a day, even a week if it’s feasible, to spend shadowing each manager in the various departments. She could spend time in human resources and on the manufacturing floor, in accounting, at the front desk and out in the field, for example, wrapping up her immersion with time alongside you in the boss’s office.
Turn Over Tasks Slowly
Give a new supervisor tasks to learn such as making schedules, writing up performance reviews and creating productivity reports before she even begins the new job. When you promote from within, employees often can prepare for the promotion by slowly taking on additional responsibilities. She’ll start the position with a number of the duties already under her belt. Ease her into the role to make the transition smoother and less daunting.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."