“With more federal workers nearing retirement, training current and future supervisors is a matter of national urgency.”
— Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, saying he is pleased House lawmakers have introduced a companion to a Senate measure requiring more training for federal managers.
The senator from Hawaii is not alone. For years the issue of succession planning has been a hot topic for the US Federal Government. Last week The 2010 Federal Supervisor Training Act was introduced requiring supervisors to receive initial training within one year of being promoted and once every three years after.
With an influx of new supervisors entering in the Federal government, training and mentoring new supervisors will be key elements for success. Madeleine Homan, cofounder of Coaching Services for The Ken Blanchard Companies® says that the biggest challenge for new supervisors is making the shift from a self-oriented focus, to one that is more focused on others. As Homan explains, “The biggest challenge is going from a mono-focused work life where all you had to think about was yourself and your daily task list and moving to a world view that is so much broader.”
Homan feels new managers need to identify the challenges they’ll face during an often difficult first year.
1. Getting comfortable with being a beginner again – Know that it is ok to feel overwhelmed. The key is how you respond. Do you work through it and take time to learn new skills or do you fall back into your comfort zone?
2. Scoring some early wins – Finding something early in the first six or eight weeks will boost a new manager’s confidence and earn some credibility and respect from their people.
3. Learning how to ask for help – Homan’s final recommendation is “to get a mentor—someone who is either a peer and has been a manager for a reasonable amount of time, or someone who is at your boss’ level that you might have a relationship with or you might have something in common with.”
Understanding these three elements can make for a smoother transition for any first-year supervisors. To learn more about what it takes to be a successful first-year supervisor I’d recommend reading First-Time Manager: It’s not just about you anymore.