Tips on Starting a New Job in a Supervisory Role

Congratulations on your new role!  This may be your first time in this role or you may be new to the University in this role.  It is our people that create our excellence in academics, research and service.  Leading them in a way that creates a healthy and productive environment is critical to sustaining and enhancing excellence.   Here are some tips to help you get off to a good start.

Information You Need

  • Mission and goals of your unit
  • Organizational chart
  • Job descriptions for staff reporting to you
  • Personnel files particularly current performance reviews to be aware of strengths, goals and development plans (your Unit HR Rep is the best resources for the above information)
  • Policies and procedures for the University of Iowa
  • Unit and positions procedures are available from your supervisor or Unit HR Representative

Begin to Build Trusting Relationships

Schedule time to meet privately with each staff member to discuss

  • How each person sees their role and responsibilities in achieving unit/org goals – engaged employees understand their fit in meeting goals
  • What is s/he especially proud of accomplishing and how does s/he like to be recognized
  • What challenges are in the job or what is affecting ability to achieve expected outcomes
  • What resources (tools, training) are needed to better achieve expected outcomes
  • What learning style works best
  • How to best give feedback that has an impact on learning and performance
  • What career interests s/he has, what s/he is doing to pursue the interest and how previous leader supported/nurtured that interest
  • Share your background, interests and supervisory style; discuss how you wish to receive feedback about projects and  problems

Trust will continue to be built by

  • being regular, open and honest in your communications;
  • fair and consistent in your decision-making;
  • trusting of your staff to do their best;
  • humane in dealing with staff personal circumstances;
  • respectful but firm, factual and instructive when handling performance concerns;
  • open to listening to their needs and ideas for operational improvement;
  • calm and assistive when things go wrong;
  • helping staff be open to change that improves operations;
  • encouraging participation in appropriate decisions.  

Resources to Assist You

  • Your Unit HR Rep, Senior HR Leader, and your supervisor are excellent resources on how to manage people within the University environment.
  • University HR/Learning and Development offers:
    • Just in Time tips for supervisors.;  coursework in various leadership skills; access to e-learning 24/7; orientation and staff development opportunities at the UI Learning and Development web site.
    • Supervisory Helpline-Request short phone consults at 335-2085
  • HR information regarding compensation, benefits, policies, and employee relations is available at the Human Resources web site.
  • You may be able learn more about how your work group feels about their working environment by asking your HR rep about the results of the Working@Iowa survey (employee engagement survey)
  • Shared Governance is an important tenant of our decision-making at UI.  Learn more about how your org implements Shared Governance through your Senior HR Leader. 
  •  Please see information on collective bargaining if your employees are governed by a collective bargaining agreement
  • Find links to key UI resources that support you in supervising staff under Supervisor Documents for Onboarding, document name, "Links to Key UI Resources" (Requires Log In)

Reports That Assist You

  • Check with your supervisor and HR Unit Representative for HR related reports (payroll, vacation/sick leave, etc.) that will assist you in doing your job