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LeadingEdition: E-Newsletter for Purdue University Supervisors

Top 10 tips for the new supervisor

As a supervisor for the first time, you’ll be both excited and scared! Human Resources can help you define your role and become the best you can be. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Be yourself.
You will build your confidence by handling stressful situations in your own way.

2. Don’t make any sudden moves.
Don’t try to sweep away all previous procedures. Staff will need reassurance that it can be business as usual for a while.

3. Observe and learn.
Observe, ask questions, listen and seek input.

4. Be seen!
Get out among your staff. Talk to them and get to know them.

5. Look at the information around you.
Read policies and procedures, look through files and put yourself in a position to know what needs to be done without having to depend on others to give you information that is already available to you.

6. Talk to your boss.
Your boss can clarify the extent of your authority and your responsibility, where the ball is yours to carry and where it must be handed off. Also, your boss will know information about any political problems or inter-departmental concerns.

7. Emphasize teamwork.
Your staff probably knows more about the job than you do. While you will need to establish your authority, you also need to empower your staff as members of the team.

8. Be consistent and fair.
Discover for yourself the strengths and weaknesses of your staff. Beware of the staff member who tries to fill you in on everything and everyone on your first few days. The information provided may be filtered and self-serving.

9. Promise – and provide – good communication in both directions.
Let your staff know that you will keep them informed whenever possible, and build trust that you will avoid surprises whenever it is in your power. Encourage them to seek clarification when necessary. Let your staff know that you care about them and, above all, that when they speak with you they are heard.

10. Wherever it is within your power, make your own decisions.
You are the new kid on the block, and people may expect to be able to influence you. Be clear that when you seek information and advice, you are not handing over the reins.

Human Resources offers a New Supervisor Training session each quarter. This four-hour course will review the hiring process at Purdue, motivational techniques, providing performance feedback, and handling difficult situations, including addressing performance problems and even terminations.

Dates and times of upcoming sessions can be found online.
To register, visit https://purdue.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0DIm9bes4Mx2gQs.

- Connie Reckowsky, Employee Relations Specialist
Employee Relations

Bullet Visit the LeadingEdition index of articles and past issues. 

LeadingEdition is an electronic newsletter for Purdue University supervisors.  It is produced and distributed by Purdue University Human Resources four times annually.  If you have questions, comments or suggestions relating to the newsletter, please call 49-41679 or email us.  Thank you.