The following is a suggested Five Point Action Guide to support your newest MVP:
1. Handle the promotion with delicacy and political savvy: The best way to create a spectacular failure is to create a poisonous pool of water for your new supervisor to swim in every day. With rare exception, someone or everyone is going to get bent out of shape by this person's promotion, regardless of how well-deserved it might be. No one can succeed when resentment is in charge. Be delicate with the emotions that will be generated — recognize that your organization, no matter what the size, is a political environment. At the same time, don't be secretive with your plans; secrets tend to give birth to panicky "conclusion-jumpers" who only anticipate the very worst scenario. Express your thoughts in a way that brings comfort to your staff and confidence to your new supervisor.
2. Make them use their whole brain: Promotions often come along to the technically proficient, not necessarily the managerially proficient person. The best supervisors combine human resource knowledge along with everyday people skills. The gifts that got them up the ladder are not the same skills that will make them excel in a supervisory role. If they are talented (and perhaps a bit overconfident), they may not gauge their limitations honestly — convince them they'll need help and extra training and, more importantly, give it to them.
3. Explain "management misery" before the promotion: There's a special kind of never-ending misery that most feel goes hand-in-hand with supervising fellow human beings. Simply put, humans do not achieve efficiency through reliable unchanging performance like a well-made and well-oiled machine; the complaints from them are endless and the tinkering never stops. It is vital to your success that, in spite of every nagging problem, you build within them a deep appreciation for their team. Your people are a resource. In the right environment, with the right supervisor, the very same humans will shame the latest in equipment by achieving a breakthrough performance through creativity, inventiveness and teamwork.
4. Boss doesn't equal "Buddy": Prepare your new supervisor for the rough road in the beginning as they try to find the perfect professional balance with their former crew. They were once one of the gang but within days of taking on the new job they will probably feel ganged up upon. No more laughing it up on a lunch run, no more relaxed conversations by the coffee machine. Suddenly, Joe Warehouse's tendency to be a half hour late on Monday mornings will become their new problem to solve — no more jokes about Joe's "Party Hearty" bumper sticker. Jenny in job scheduling seemed to get her work done even though she was always leaving the shop early. Now, Jenny is causing problems for them once they realize how other workers resent her unfair work habits. Slowly, the big picture will come into view.
5. The best supervisors work hard to never give the impression that they enjoy:
• The power trappings of the job.
• Being over-critical and personally mean and dismissive.
• Egocentric privileges open to no one else.
• Using fear and intimidation to achieve results.
• Micromanaging every project until no one can claim ownership.
• Holding others back so they remain the leader by default.
• Causing staff insanity through inconsistent directions and actions.
• Arrogance by never entertaining the possibility of being wrong.