How to Train a New Supervisor


Starting a new job can be challenging. Whether a new supervisor is promoted from within or is hired through an outside source, the training he receives from day one will make a huge difference in his effectiveness. On-the-job training is an essential part of the experience, but this doesn't mean that the new supervisor is left alone to sink or swim.

Things You'll Need

  • Job description
  • Calendar of training
  • Access codes and instructions for work tools
  • Policies and manuals
  • Start day one off with a great first impression by welcoming the new supervisor when he arrives and telling him what to expect for the day. Begin with introductions and a tour of the facility. Hand over a directory with names, titles and contact information and an organizational chart, so he can put names with positions along with the in-person meet and greet.

  • Ask the new supervisor to read the job description. Make sure he understands the contents by going over sections with him, noting priorities, daily responsibilities and long term tasks. At the end of this conversation make certain he has a clear picture of what is expected.

  • Create a calendar of training in the department and other areas that are important to the new supervisor's job. Review this calendar with him to include time scheduled with individuals to review tasks and any formal classroom sessions. The calendar should identify short-term goals for training such as, "Create employee schedules" at the end of the second week.

  • Be ready to issue all of the basic work productivity tools he needs along with instructions on how to use them. Don't make the new supervisor have to figure out computer log ins, combination codes, keys and telephones; they can all be different in each work site. Your team member will be more productive if he doesn't have to fumble to make a phone call.

  • Provide the new supervisor with the up to date manuals, policies and procedures that he needs to get the job done, and take the time to highlight what they will use the most. Describe limits of authority and an explanation of any required authorization or communications channels. For example, tell him he can use $25 in petty cash for quick supplies but must go through purchasing for a $150 piece of equipment. Don't limit instructions to equipment and process talk about the staff, their strengths, and the steps to take in giving instructions and following through when a task is not completed correctly.

  • Check back with the new supervisor and make certain he knows how to contact you with a question. You should check in frequently on an informal basis and set specific meetings to monitor progress towards goals and just to ask how the new job is going.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clue the new supervisor in to days, times and expectations at regular meetings, such as weekly staff meetings. Have lunch with the new supervisor, or, if you can't, ensure that he is set up to eat with someone else. Pictures will help him remember names and faces particularly those of senior executives, owners or key customers that he might not see all the time. Tell him how to pronounce names of people, places and equipment correctly.
  • Take care with jargon including industry, job or company-specific terms that the new supervisor may not know or can misinterpret. Avoid gossip and too many judgments about employees; let the supervisor form his own opinion.

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