Recently I wrote about the challenge of getting a new supervisor and its impact on us: It disrupts our normal. We rarely stop and think about the perspective of being the new supervisor: What’s going through their mind and what’s on their heart?
I’ve been in the “new supervisor” position several times in my life. Each time I assumed a new role, I too had some anxiety about what it meant for me and those I was going to work with. Allow me to share perspective on being a new leader.
When you work in a non-leadership role, success is usually based on the work you do as an individual. When you move into the role of a leader, the definition of success changes: You are no longer the “doer” of work. Success is now based upon the work of all of those on your team. “I” becomes “We.” So, when I assume responsibility as a leader, I know I am now responsible for the careers of all of those who report directly to me and their teams. My job is to help them be the best each of them can be. Our success is linked together. A good leader understands the importance and significance of this dynamic.
The role of a leader is to continue striving for improvement. I want to first get to know the people I work with, personally and professionally, as well as the current systems and processes. Only emergencies require quick change. Yes, some will resist the changes that need to be made, choosing to cling to the comfort of what they’ve been doing. Others will be ready for change. Some will help lead the change. The leader needs to prepare the team for change before moving forward.
Know that some on the team will struggle. As the leader, I owe them my best to coach, train and encourage them to improvement. Yet I accept that some may not improve, and they may be holding the team back. I cannot let one or two individuals negatively impact the team’s performance. As their leader, I will need wisdom in determining the fit of staff for their role. When it’s not a good fit for their gifts and skills, I want to help them go where they can succeed, hopefully within the organization, but in a different role.
On the many difficult decisions, I will face as a leader, I will need courage – courage to act and make decisions that may not be popular but are best for the team. “Act with courage, and may the Lord be with those who do well” (2 Chronicles 19:11). My prayer as a leader, and my prayer for you, if you are stepping in as the new supervisor, is that we can be leaders who are fair, and that those I work with will understand my heart is for the good of the team.
Dale Kreienkamp is the author of How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them. He is a Human Resources executive and consultant who has experienced a personal journey of unemployment twice when both positions were eliminated in organizational restructuring. These personal experiences created a desire within him to help others impacted by unemployment through inspirational devotions. Dale is also an active volunteer at his home church and leader in his local community.