How do you break the ice with the people you’re suddenly supervising? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

How do you break the ice with the people you’re suddenly supervising?

Get PDF file

by on
in Admin Pro Forum

Question: “As of January 13, I’m going to be supervising two other admins for the first time. I’ve never worked with them directly, and I want to come in that Monday and accomplish two things: First, I want to tell them I’d like to be a fun boss, but I also need to let them know that I have some very specific ideas about how we should approach the things we need to get done. Should I sit down with them as a group and lay it all out, approach them one by one, or wait and see how they react to me in the first week—or even the first month?” – Rich, Records Administrator

See comments below, and send your own question to

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

SK January 2, 2014 at 5:28 pm

I would appreciate a group meeting so the admins will work as a team and not individuals who have no clue what the other is doing. They will be on equal footing, instead of wondering.
As for fun, I agree, that will come naturally. My boss is very “fun loving,” but I discovered that as we progressed and worked together.
I like the fact that he is not a micro-manager. He hired good people. He lets us do our jobs. He’s there if we have questions or if we need clarification–and in the beginning, you will need to clarify a lot. He shows us appreciation by telling us that we’re doing a good job (very needed). He acts as if we are competant, and we don’t let him down.
Another thing I like is my boss always takes the brunt of a mishap. He will take it on himself, then reiterate what is expected, as if telling us he probably miscommunicated. Even though we know it probably wasn’t his fault, he lets us know that nobody is infallible.
Compassion, understanding, the golden rule, and a little time to let your hair down is the definition of a good boss to me.
Good luck to you in your new position, Rich.


Gretchen January 2, 2014 at 5:11 pm

I think you need to meet with them as soon as possible. It will make them feel better to have some idea of expectations. You also might ask them what things they think are working and what isn’t. Instead of fun you might use the term laid back. It will let them know that you aren’t going to be barking orders but you also won’t be a goofball.


Kim January 2, 2014 at 4:59 pm

I think it’s important to reach out them early so that they aren’t left wondering about what to expect and how things could potentially be changing. If you don’t give them clear information to begin with they will fill in the blanks for themselves which could create problems. Also, as an employee with a new boss, it would make you feel more comfortable (hopefully) about the changes if you can hear directly from that new boss what the expectations are going to be going forward.


tawney January 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm

First, ‘fun’ is not a trait I admire in a boss. It’s not something I look for in a boss either. It’s not a bad thing, but I want a boss who is competent, able to lead gracefully, able to mentor and teach others in a kind manner, who makes their employees WANT to succeed, willing to listen and learn from others (not just bark orders) and is willing to get his/her hands dirty when an emergency project pops up. My current boss is not necessarily someone I’d call ‘fun’ but he is certainly the best boss I have ever had (or will ever have – hands down).
Second, I think it would be very appropriate for you to have a group meeting, discuss your work style and theirs, create an atmosphere of open communication, discuss goals and then go from there. The ‘fun boss’ part will come in naturally. As long as you are honest with them and let them know they can trust you to be a good, fair supervisor, they will come to respect you.


jabbmabb January 2, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Good for you for laying out your expectations, and in particular the ‘fun’ part! I would take a group approach, which will help solidify the idea of team and teamwork. If your team knows your expectations and your goals, there shouldn’t be any misunderstandings down the road. As for your specific approach for completing tasks, you might also consider letting them know any other expectations, such as whether you have an open-door policy; your preferences for communication (e.g., e-mail, in person, voice mail, handwritten note); your preference for checking-in with your staff to see if things are on track (e.g., weekly, monthly, bullet list of items e-mailed to you, verbal reports). If your staff knows those kinds of things about your supervisory/management style, they’ll be a bit more comfortable from the beginning.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: