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new position

Author Brian225
#1 | Posted: 17 May 2007 19:06 
Where I have worked I have been a cashier for a few months. Now I am going to be bumped up to the customer service desk. even though I am not a primary superviosr when my supervisor is away I will have to basically will be running the show in my department. This means I will have to boss people that I was on the same level with only last week. I was wondering does anyone have any advice about how to handle this situation

Author ayaree
#2 | Posted: 19 May 2007 16:36 
I guess there are different dynamics from one environment to another, so it's not easy to answer that point blank. What you are about to face is one of the first things to overcome when becoming a supervisor, and it is an experience that resurfaces with each new team that you are responsible for (in other words, it comes back, at least it has done for me).

If there is a meeting to announce the change in structure/roles, then I would use that opportunity to express my excitement at being in this new position. Another point that might be worth making is that even though you have been working in the same dept with these people, you are going to find some things to learn along the way, and that you look forward to learning those together.

The above is an expression of humility. But it's also gutsy, because you are speaking in an open and direct manner. If you were to compare this to body language, this is not the signal that can be read into someone crossing their arms (they are shielding themselves from an uncomfortable situation). These are the kinds of things that don't sound important, but the minute details sometimes mean a lot. Respect is the sum of the little things, and you are going to need to build respect for you.

The above is also a first statement about a group ("learning together"). You need to be able to speak in ways that show that everyone has something to contribute and that everyone should matter to everyone else. It's natural for someone within an existing team now becoming a supervisor to feel angst and for those who did not become supervisor to now look at that person differently, with expectations. This is also comparable with a situation where people were once "friends" and now one of them is the boss, and that's not an easy situation.

One of the things I didn't understand clearly enough when I was a lot newer at being a boss figure is that people really are willing to work for their boss, and are in most cases (unless there is some specific baggage there) they want things to work. It's hard to learn to ask someone to do something, and it might be a tense feeling for a few weeks/months. But you have to remind yourself that an employee wants to do well and that you are part of their success, and you own their success by encouraging it. You don't encourage it by simply being a boss and bossing, you encourage and own it by showing that what they think matters, that they helped to achieve a result (thank you)--and by saying "thanks" when someone is leaving after a day's work.

I said that a humble approach would be handy, but you should feel proud inside and demonstrate pride (even when you are not feeling it immensely at that particular moment) in people's work by smiling and saying "that's great." Thank someone when they came to someone else's aid. This will establish a culture that people have something to gain by investing in each other's support--each person has something to gain by needing and helping, sharing and collaborating--because they are recognized as good performers through actions that will be seen as teamwork by their boss.

The thing that will be a crucial task for you over the next 6 months (and I left this till the end of my blurb deliberately) is to follow through on what you say you say you are going to do. This is something that a first-time supervisor and a CEO with years of work behind him/her will have in common. When you say you will do something, you will need to make sure that your actions reflect your words. Create reminders for yourself wherever you think it will come in handy. Remember when someone did something that is worth complimenting (reinforce positive feelings); recall when someone said they needed to be out on X day. Ensure that you ask management about a particular issue and follow up with the news you obtained. Hold meetings with your people on a consistent basis, visit them briefly here and there when a meeting is not all that required.

Good luck and don't be afraid to talk about any mistakes you have made, and you should let us know how it has been going.

Author ayaree
#3 | Posted: 19 May 2007 16:44 
Now that I return to your original post again....I guess I forgot that you stipulated that you are not actually going to be a supervisor but you will be expected to take charge a bit when the supervisor is not there. Even so, you were asking how to handle this change, and I hope some of what I said covers that.

Author pat9127
#4 | Posted: 21 May 2007 17:50 
You are headed for an exciting experience, do it well and you will probably be moved into the fulltime supervisory position.

The key to being a "part-time" boss is that when you aren't the boss you must still retain the respect and cooperation of your co-workers. You won't be able to do that if you allow the position to "go to your head." In fact, go overboard to remind yourself to help others, to thank them if they help you or someone else, to say "good morning or good night" to your co-workers. If you act like they matter to you, you will matter to them and they will be far more willing to work with you in either slot you are filling.

Talk to your supervisor, ask them for advice (which doesn't mean you need to do everything they do or their way.) It helps to have your supervisor on your side and not threatened by the thought that you are trying to take their position (unless they are being promoted or moving to a different location.)

When you actually get promoted, enjoy the experience but don't forget where you came from and what your thoughts of your supervisor were...work to be a good, effective listener and trainer and you will continue to advance.

Good luck and good job!

Author cedennis
#5 | Posted: 22 May 2007 06:59 
Being a "boss" without the title is one of the most challenging jobs you will ever have. But doing it well will enhance your prospects for future promotions and a successful career in people management.

There has been some excellent advice posted above, and I would like to add to it. Where Pat9127 suggested speaking to your current supervisor for advice on this subject, I believe that managing (or supervising, or overseeing) staff is (or should be) very similar to providing service to customers. So, in that vein, I would ask the people whose work I am overseeing what is the best way to communicate work objectives with them. I have used this strategy successfully as a supervisor, manager, and director.

Face it, nobody wants a "boss." But everyone wants a Leader. Great leaders do not lead by force, but by consensus. Find common ground with each individual that you oversee, and then discover which method of communication works best with them.

Management is like customer service in many ways, and specific way is that "One Size Does NOT Fit All." A successful business does not treat all of its customers one way, and a successful manager does not treat all of his/her staff the same way. The "Golden Rule" may be to treat others the way you'd like to be treated, but the "Platinum Rule" is to treat others the way THEY wish to be treated.

Best of luck with this! I was in your shoes 20+ years ago, and the lessons I learned then are still relevant today.

Chuck Dennis
The Angry Customer Strategist

Author Brian225
#6 | Posted: 2 Jun 2007 18:26 
thanks guys for the advice. So well it's going pretty

For the most part evertying is flowing very smoothly and haven't had too many probelms.

Author ayaree
#7 | Posted: 16 Jun 2007 20:38 
Brian, I almost forgot about you, I'm glad I clicked on this topic and found your return post. Sounds like you are content with the way everything is now. Is there anything special about the change that you like, and can you tell us?

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