Now You’re a Supervisor – of Your Former Peers!

ByRita Sever

Now You’re a Supervisor – of Your Former Peers!

Congratulations!  You landed the promotion and now you will be a supervisor.  In fact, you will be a supervisor of  your former peers.  BE CAREFUL!  This is a tricky transition and many dangers lie ahead.

Here’s a quick summary of traps to avoid to successfully maneuver the transition.


  • Acting like nothing has changed

    • You may want to downplay the changes, but it is important to recognize that this promotion does change things. As a supervisor of your former peers, you have a different job and a different relationship to your colleagues.
  • Acting like everything has changed

    • On the other hand, don’t become an authoritative supervisor and start acting bossy and mean to your staff.
  • Treating your friends differently than other staff

    • Supervisors must treat all their staff fairly.  When you show favoritism, this creates distrust.
  • Ignoring problems

    • You may be hesitant to address problems but this is your job now that you are a supervisor of your former peers and you must address concerns sooner rather than waiting and hoping they will disappear.
  • Not recognizing or acknowledging your power and authority

    • You have power and authority now because of your position as a supervisor.  Acting like it is not there only makes people distrust you.
  • Not delegating

    • In the interest of wanting to remain a peer, you may try to do too much.  If you role requires delegation, you must learn how to delegate in a respectful, clear and direct manner.
  • Micromanaging

    • When new supervisors are worried about their newly broadened responsibilities, it is easy to move into too-frequent oversight of tasks and projects.  Resist the urge.  Lay out outcomes and benchmarks and then check on them in a consistent and planned manner.
  • Gossiping or oversharing

    • You’re not one of the gang now.  As a supervisor, you can’t gossip about team members or managers.  This would break trust and confidentiality which will undermine you work in very short order.
  • Saying “I don’t agree with this but I have to . . .”

    • While it may be tempting to align yourself with your staff, resist this temptation.  You are a supervisor now and you must support the organizations’s greater agenda, not just focus on being liked.

Stay tuned for TIPS to set you and your team up for success as you move into the role of being a supervisor and prepare to lead your former peers.

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