In an effort to reward talented employees and move them up the corporate ladder, many business owners promote them to supervisory roles.  Unfortunately, sometimes these employees, although exceptional at their current jobs, are unqualified and not yet prepared to assume a leadership position.  However, with employer support helping new supervisors to understand their roles, planning and training, employees can succeed at making this upward transition.

While serving as representatives of the company, leaders are not only expected to demonstrate appropriate conduct and act in the company’s best interest at all times, but they also should follow these best practices:

  • Understand and apply company policies.  It is impossible to advise others without knowing the company’s rules and regulations.  If a specific rule is unclear, supervisors should seek clarification from a higher authority.
  • Demonstrate fairness and consistency.  Managers cannot play favorites and should treat employees equally.
  • Maintain confidentiality.  Employees need to know they can trust their supervisors.  A supervisor who shares private employee conversations with others is demonstrating   disrespect and a lack of concern for subordinates. The exception to this rule would be if an employee divulges information that could directly put other employees or the company at risk.
  • Coach and motivate employees. Every employee values and appreciates being recognized for a job well done.  Successful leaders highlight their employees’ unique talents, help them improve their skills and reach their goals.  They also offer encouragement and praise for good work and initiative.  Positive reinforcement shows employees that they are moving in the right direction.
  • Maintain effective documentation. Supervisors are responsible for keeping accurate records of employee performance and conduct, both positive and negative.    
  • Set performance standards. Managers need to meet with employees to discuss roles, responsibilities and goals.  Otherwise, employees may not understand what is expected of them to achieve specific levels of performance. 
  • Evaluate employee performance and address concerns. Employees want to know where they stand, and performance reviews can provide effective feedback. Reviews also are essential tools for evaluating an employee’s position within the company or organization.  It is imperative that supervisors address any performance concerns such as weaknesses or shortcomings with employees.  This constructive criticism is meant to help employees achieve the goals that are set for them. Failure to address poor performance only exacerbates a negative situation. 
  • Terminate employees when appropriate. This is a serious decision that should not be made lightly.  There are many reasons for employee terminations – everything from overstaffing and a company’s need to cut costs to poor performance and inappropriate behavior.  Whatever the reason, it is the manager’s job, along with a corporate HR representative if possible, to impart this news in a professional manner.

Employers should not assume that employees promoted to a supervisory position automatically know what is expected of them.  New leaders, similar to employees in other jobs, need direction and support.  Clarifying the position’s responsibilities and articulating expectations will help ensure that the transition to a management role is successful.   


Article provided by Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 27 years.  Insperity provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance.  Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace.  Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization™ solution.  Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services.  Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees.  With 2012 revenues of $2.2 billion, Insperity operates in 57 offices throughout the United States.  For more information, call 800-465-3800 or visit