At Ohio University Lancaster Campus, the Community and Corporate Learning Center offers a wide variety of programs, courses and services for community members and organizations. Activities are provided at the Lancaster Campus and off-campus locations, including places of work. University credit programs, business / industrial training, distance education, and noncredit classes are offered in several formats. One of the business/industrial training seminars we offer focuses on new managers and the struggles they can face.
When teaching supervision, I sometimes like to make a flashy comparison to the late motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel when describing the difficult jump from worker to new supervisor. Although often thought of as an ordinary step, the gap from labor to management can be a wide one, with plenty of bravery required to bridge that gap, similar to the bravery Robert Craig Knievel displayed.
When a person is well known as one of the crew, then suddenly they become supervisor, their work world is in chaos. Those being supervised will “test” the new manager in many different ways. In addition, other members of management may not yet fully accept the “newbie” in the supervisory role. Even the new supervisor’s personal life can change dramatically, especially if he or she was spending time with co-workers after hours. Also, the new supervisor may not always be aware of the different expectations of a management team member.
Although these situations are temporary, the new supervisor’s actions while in the spotlight will influence their reputation in that organization. Those of us that have experienced this transition tend to forget how difficult it can be. Some laugh off the transition period as growing pains, but it can “make or break” a management career.
If you have not been through the worker to new supervisor transition before, it certainly is preferable to know what to expect. Of course, different organizations provide many different levels of support for this promotion. More advanced companies will provide plenty of training and organizational support. But too often, companies will unknowingly skip this important training and the new supervisor will effectively be “thrown to the wolves.”
Luckily, there are ways to smooth this tough transition. One of the options is a one-day seminar that I teach called Supervision 101. For a small investment, the new supervisor can learn important generalities to enable them to jump that gap between labor and management. This could be thought of as similar to trading in Evel Knievel’s old heavy motorcycle for a newer, lightweight bike that makes the jump much easier.
Stay tuned for my next blog that will discuss computer software usage in an office environment. For more information on upcoming workshops at OUL, call 654-6711 ext. 249.