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When Employees Become Managers and Lose Friends

December 11, 2020

By Susan Chance, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

One of the biggest issues for newly minted supervisors and managers is that their buddies now report to them. So how does one go from buddy to supervisor?  It’s common for many new supervisors or managers to forget their role and ignore the performance issues.  They don’t want to rock the boat and want to keep their personal friendships.

What are other issues with newbie supervisors/managers?

1.       Some new managers think that because of their new status, employees must do whatever they say.  They expect employees to automatically respect and respond to whatever they say.

2.       They may make exceptions to an employee without understanding the impact it has on other employees. 

3.       They may not listen to subordinates and micromanage. 

4.       They may not understand the full scope of the expectations of being a supervisor/manager, such as performance reviews, performance issues, running meetings, FMLA or ADA issues, etc. 

5.       They may not delegate well or at all. 

6.       Failing to communicate completely or as often as needed.   

7.       Failing to recognize the communication styles and how employees listen when they are communicating.

Depending on the employer, the best practice is to provide training to new leaders. In addition, a second line manager should be mentoring the new supervisor/manager.  However, many times these newly minted are just thrown into the lion’s den.  It becomes a recipe for disaster, employer turnover, and lost productivity.

If there is HR for the employer, they need to step up and take charge of coordinating training and mentorship for the new supervisor/manager if no programs are in place.  For those with programs in place, HR has to ensure the newbie is scheduled for both training and hopefully mentorship.  If the second line does not do their job with the new supervisor, HR cannot be afraid to have the talk with the second line or go up the chain to the second line’s manager. 

HR practitioners generally help and do well supporting a new manager.  It could be through testing and feedback or ensuring support is available.  They also need to remind the new supervisor/manager of their responsibilities and be available for them as needed.  Many of the situations the new supervisor/manager will experience are not new to the employer or to HR.  Therefore, the newbie needs to recognize that they are not alone and have resources to help them do their job.  Finally, HR can assist the new supervisor/manager to level set expectations for them and teach the new manager how to process and proceed when something unexpected occurs. 

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