Part 1: How to Help Your New Supervisor Avoid Pitfalls and Achieve Performance Success by Sabrina Smith

Yep. Being a new supervisor isn’t always going to be cupcakes and unicorns. Although leadership is an exciting opportunity, new supervisors who are not properly trained may experience pitfalls that will impact their ability to effectively perform in the new position. This two-part article will focus on five core areas to help your new leader avoid the pitfalls that result in decreased employee satisfaction, low customer experience results, and missed performance targets.

New Supervisor Role Clarity and Transition Management

The unfortunate truth is many new supervisors are selected because they can effectively perform the job as an associate. I’ve seen this time and time again throughout my 26 years in contact centers. The first pitfall they generally experience is a lack of role clarity and transition into their new position as leader. This is often due to the hiring manager reinforcing the fact that they were selected because they were great customer service agents, sales agents, etc. Unfortunately, the manager is subliminally telling the person, “You are a going to be a great supervisor because you were a great (CSR, Sales Rep, etc.). Keep being a great (CSR, Sales Rep, etc.).” To avoid this pitfall, here are a few suggestions to consider that provide role clarity for the new leader, and will help them begin the process of psychologically transitioning into their role as supervisor:

1. Share the specific leadership competencies exhibited by the associate resulting in them being selected for the position. They need to understand why they were chosen to become a leader – not a gloried CSR, Sales Agent, etc. You can talk about their performance in the previous role, but be certain to tie those results to specific behaviors, and tie those behaviors to leadership competencies.

2. Share the job description and set clear performance expectations. It is important new leaders understand what’s expected of them. Be certain to check for understanding, and follow up to ensure they begin exhibiting the competencies of the new position over time.

3. Provide mentorship. Whether the immediate manager or a high performing peer, be certain the new leader has a POC to reach out to for support, encouragement, guidance and accountability. This is critical to helping leaders gain confidence in themselves, build relationships, and jump start the emotional transition into their new position as leader.

New Supervisor and Time Management

A new supervisor tends to go from working a typical 8-hour day as an agent (unless there is overtime) to an average of 10-12 hours a day as a leader. I’ve seen this time and time again with new leaders in various organizations. Most often, the new leader is struggling with how to manage their team and new responsibilities. This often results in time management pitfalls. Consider the below suggestions to help the new leader avoid burnout and more effectively manage time each day:

1. Create a structured development plan for the leader. In the portion of the plan that concentrates on time management, ensure the plan focuses on skill development that includes items such as: Goal Setting; Managing Tasks; Handling Conflicting Priorities; Critical Thinking

2. Schedule regular check-in’s with the new leader (and mentor if assigned) to assess the new leader’s performance. Respective to time management, make certain to provide specific feedback to the leader about their strengths, and the impacts to their performance, teams (horizontal and vertical), and company when exhibiting those behaviors. Conversely, help the leader self-discover areas in need of improvement, and discuss the impacts aforementioned when the behaviors are not executed by the leader

· I recommend limiting the development areas to one or two core behaviors to increase skill development and retention, and reduce the chance of leaders becoming overwhelmed or demotivated during the learning journey

In closing, you have learned two of five areas of focus to help your new supervisor avoid pitfalls and get on the way to achieving performance success in their new position. Next week’s article will focus on Self-Management, Team Management, and Goal Management.

Please share your feedback. I welcome your insight and comments.

This information is being provided as a resource only. Please note that there are additional steps needed to develop your new leader.

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