New Supervisor Syndrome

Posted on December 2, 2010 by


It’s a common problem.

You have a staff member who is great at their job and performing really well so you promote them into a managerial or supervisory role for the first time. Within days or weeks you find yourself wondering why they are not performing as well as expected. We call it New Supervisor Syndrome.

The are two main reason it happens.

  1. Not enough consideration was given to an individual’s actual suitability for a managerial or supervisory role before they were promoted. They may have been a brilliant employee but they may not be cut out to be a supervisor or manager. As a parallel, just think how many brilliant footballers end up being terrible managers.
  2. They are actually suited to the role but they get little or no training or development in how to actually be an effective supervisor or manager. Very often they will have been highly trained in their role before being promoted. Problem is they need a whole new skill set to become an effective supervisor or manager.

The good news is there are two simple fixes:

  1. Carry out a behavioural assessment BEFORE you promote someone. This will help understand any unforeseen suitability issues or help confirm their suitability for the role.
  2. Provide them with the skills, knowledge and tools they need to become an effective supervisor or manager through a training and development programme.

A very common problem, with a very simple solution. Trouble is that it is not implemented often enough…

Need any more help with your New Supervisors? Drop me an email, I’d be delighted to discuss.

Campbell Urquhart

Managing Director

The Urquhart Partnership Ltd.