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Help Me Before I Strangle Someone!

Dear Sherry, I've recently been made a supervisor of a team at a large bank. They are all nincompoops. These people cannot solve problems (they bring every little things to me and expect me to 'fix things'), they don't own their own work (they expect me to review every single thing and correct their work) and they expect to be told exactly what to do (they have no initiative or creativity). I think it's because the previous supervisor was a bit of a pansy - he spoiled them and did not bother to teach them how to think for themselves. They are driving me crazy, especially when they look at me and say: that's not the way we did it when Tom was here, or we never had to do that before, or worse - why should we do that, don't you do that for us?. Help me before I strangle someone!

Frustrated New Supervisor

Sherry's advice

Dear New Supervisor,

I can completely understand how you feel. The last thing a new supervisor wants to hear is how his/her team DOESN'T want to do work. However, what you did not mention in your letter is: have YOU set up YOUR expectations of them TO THEM yet? Do they know what your standard is? In other words, have you told them explicitly what you want/expect from them in terms of their work, their responsibilities? You must do that first. Then, if and when they do not perform up to what you have set up as your expection of them, you can approach them in a professional and objective manner, advising them that they have not done their jobs. It is NOT fair to think that they can read your mind, especially if they have not been trained/supported/coached well by a previous supervisor. It is NOT their fault that they have been 'spoiled' before.

Now, if you have already set up your expectations and they are not trainable, that is a different story and you'll have to 'supervise' them. If they need training, train them. If they need discipline, do that. If they are not competent... well... manage them out of their jobs or get them into another role where they are capable. Your job as a supervisor is to ensure that people can do their jobs.

1) Set Your Expectations 2) Clearly Communicate Them 3) Help People Meet Them... then 4) Manage Your Team.

If you need to learn how to manage, you may want to consider contacting the HR department - many large firms identify high potential employees to invest in. Think about taking a management course. If your company does not provide this type of program, think about hiring a coach on your own, someone who can work with you develop your management skills and ability to manage your career.

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Wow Sherry, You answered that question Great! I was a bit concerned about this supervisor. It seems as though she may have forgotten that she had to learn what she knows to get where she is. I guess to call people who work for you or under you degrading names doesn't seem very professional to me. I am just glad that you while she pointed the finger towards them there is always one pointing right back at her. I hope she takes you advice and also realized that people bothering you is what a Supervisor is all about. People!! :-)