How to Go from Coworker to Supervisor

After years of hard work and sacrifices, you've been promoted as a supervisor for your company. On one hand, you're excited to jump into this challenging role and further your career. But on the other hand, you may question how to transition from coworker to supervisor. 

If you've always had a good working relationship with your colleagues, maintaining this relationship is undoubtedly a priority. Although roles have shifted, this doesn't have to signal the end of your work friendships. If anything, this is your opportunity to strengthen the relationships you have with former coworkers. 

Here are five tips to help you go from coworker to supervisor. 

#1 Realize that your relationship will change - a little

Change is inevitable, but it doesn't need to be life altering. As the supervisor, you're now responsible for the performance of your team. They answer to you, and in turn, your boss will expect an explanation (and action on your part) if your team doesn't perform well. Therefore, you need to adopt a "boss" mindset. And as a boss, you'll need to modify some of your previous behaviors and set the example for your team. In other words, you wouldn't want to engage in workplace gossip or waste time shooting the breeze instead of working. 

#2 Don't cut off friendships with former coworkers

Being promoted a supervisor doesn't mean that you can only associate with other supervisors. These individuals will no doubt become your allies, and you'll probably work closer with those in a similar role. However, it's important that you maintain old friendships. Get together with your former coworkers and go to lunch or happy hour, or invite this person to your home. Role changes within the office shouldn't change how you deal with each other after hours. 

#3 Treat each employee fairly

As a supervisor, it's crucial that you don't let relationships with your former coworkers influence your judgment. In other words, you wouldn't want to be overly lenient or overlook issues with those you consider close friends. Your new position requires impartiality and you'll need to be objective. This, however, is one of the biggest challenges when transitioning from coworker to supervisor. As the new person in charge, you may have a desire to help your friends climb the ladder faster; therefore, you may toss more assignments and opportunities their way. There's nothing wrong with offering a helping hand -- as long as they're qualified and you're being fair. 

#4 Trust your former coworkers

Then again, as a newly promoted supervisor, you might feel the pressure to exert your power a bit. But unfortunately, an overzealous attitude can rub your team the wrong way. The truth is, you don't have to supervise everyone, every second of the day. If your former coworkers are responsible and always complete assignments by due dates, trust that they know their job and don't micromanage. 

#5 Learn from other supervisors

This is a new role, and there's an adjustment period. Accept that you'll make a few mistakes along the way; and when you do, own up to your mistakes. Also, talk with other supervisors in your company and ask for advice. 

It's a big change, but you can be successful in your new role. What helped you make the transition from coworker to supervisor?

Image Credit: Flickr

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