Is This the Right Time for You to Become a Supervisor?

Are you ready to take the leap into a leadership role? Becoming a supervisor requires energy, focus and fortitude as you spread your wings for the flight.

Over the years I have coached many supervisors who were at various stages in their development — some were seasoned leaders, some new in the job, and some were aspiring to become supervisors. I always asked the aspiring leaders this question: “Is this the right time for you to take on the supervisory role?”

It is a question worth exploring, as some make the jump prematurely and struggle to land on solid ground. 

Two New Supervisors — Two Different Outcomes

My client Gregg was one of these who jumped into the supervisor’s role without a parachute, and paid the price later. Gregg was a qualified millwright and team lead in a local lumber mill. When he decided to take on the supervisor’s role to share his and desire to lead others, many situations came up which caused him stress.

Gregg did not have a supportive manager who could mentor him, his mother was dying of cancer, and to top it off, the team challenged his authority constantly. After several months he developed a heart condition, at which point he contacted me to help him work through the situation. In the end, Gregg decided to resume his position as team lead until he was in a stronger position to supervise.

Another supervisor who was recently promoted, was struggling to make the transition while balancing a busy family life. Suzanne had two pre-school children at home and a husband who travelled frequently. Like most new supervisors, Suzanne worked 10+ hours per day, which caused tremendous stress on the marriage and on the children. As her coach, I had Suzanne look at priorities, life-balance needs, and support networks to help her adjust to the demands of leadership. She also learned how to delegate and set clear boundaries with management and staff. Suzanne continued on as the supervisor and approached work very differently to balance her life responsibilities.

Questions to Ponder…

If you are an aspiring supervisor, here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if the timing is right for you.

  • Do you have a clear sense of what your priorities are in your personal life, and does becoming a supervisor align with these priorities?
  • Are you looking after aging parents or special needs children who require much of your time?
  • Do you want to become a supervisor because it is the thing to do, or because you really want to help others and lead them to success?
  • If you have a young family, do you have adequate childcare or family support?
  • Are you recovering from some health issues or traumatic events issues — for instance, divorce or death?


Author of The Supervisor’s Safari Guidebook Series

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