Management Skills for New Supervisors

Learn from Experiences

Sign up for Harvard Business Review’s “Management Tip of the Day.” Read the daily tip each morning and plan how you can incorporate it into your day at GW. If the tip presents a new idea, test it with a colleague or one of your direct reports. Save the most valuable tips in in one place and revisit them quarterly.

Take the “How good are your management skills?” assessment. Use the guidance to interpret your score. Identify two areas to improve. Act on the assessment site tips

Review the Performance Management section. Use it to understand our process and your role in providing ongoing coaching and feedback throughout the year. Schedule a meeting with each of your direct reports to review their current goals or priorities. Schedule quarterly checkpoints.

Plan to share your expectations with staff members. Use the clarifying expectations tool (DOC) that outlines the GW Performance Factors from the performance review form. Edit and share the document with each of your staff members to ensure they understand key expectations.

Review your job description and the management performance factor in the performance review form (DOC). Identify any areas where you would like additional clarity and address them with your supervisor in your next one-on-one meeting.


Learn from Others

Schedule a meeting with your supervisor to review office operations, dynamics and priorities. Use this as an opportunity to outline your goals and understand what is expected of you in this new role. Ask for feedback and advice on what to focus on early in your role. Schedule two meetings in your first 90 days in which you will ask your manager for formal feedback. After 90 days, schedule a checkpoint to revisit and revise your goal agreement.

Observe other leaders in your organization throughout your first 90 days. Who is successful? What makes them successful? What elements of GW’s culture help to make them successful? Who seem to be the decision makers and influencers? Remember, leadership is at all levels, look for examples of successful leadership up, down, and all around. Identify successful techniques that you can leverage in your day-to-day activities.

Have a lunch with leaders. Identify several leaders from departments that your team interacts with frequently. Use the meeting as an opportunity to introduce yourself, learn more about them and their organizations and the core needs your department can help fulfill.

Schedule a meeting with each of your new direct reports. Develop a set of questions that you will ask each employee to learn more about their views. Sample questions could include:

  • What do you think of current departmental priorities?
  • What are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the department in the short term? Long term?
  • How could we improve the way the team works together?
  • If you were in my position, what would you focus on?

Reflect on what is shared and not shared. Incorporate these perspectives in planning your first 90 days, and consider this feedback when planning your long-term goals and departmental strategy.