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's 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, so you can be aware of strengths, goals and development plans (Your Unit HR Rep can be a resource for this information.)
  • UI Operations Manual

Begin to Build Trusting Relationships

Schedule time to meet privately with each staff member to discuss:

  • How each person sees their roles and responsibilities fitting in with achieving unit/org goals;
  • What each person is especially proud of accomplishing and how they like to be recognized;
  • What challenges there are in the job and what impacts potential to achieve expected outcomes;
  • What resources (tools, training) are needed to achieve expected outcomes;
  • How each person learns best;
  • The best way to give feedback that has an impact on learning and performance;
  • The career interests each person has, and what each is doing to pursue their interests; and
  • Your background, interests and supervisory style, as well as 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 and assuming positive intent;
  • Humane in working with staffs' 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;
  • Helpful when staff move through workplace changes; and
  • Supportive of staff participation in appropriate decisions.  

Resources to Assist You

  • Your Unit HR Rep, Senior HR Leader, and your supervisor are excellent resources for how to lead and supervise people in the university environment.
  • University HR/Learning and Development offers:
    • On-demand support for supervisors through myquickcoach, and facilitated sessions and series on various leadership and supervisory topics.
  • 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 (employee engagement) survey.
  • Shared governance is an important part of our decision-making at UI. Learn more about how your org implements shared governance through your Senior HR Leader or HR Rep. 
  • Please see information on collective bargaining if your employees are governed by a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Check with your supervisor and HR Unit Rep for HR-related reports (payroll, vacation/sick leave, etc.) that will assist you in doing your job.