At most reputable companies, new hires are given a supervisor to which they report.
This employee/supervisor relationship gives the employee someone to consistently speak with about the job and hopefully, learn from. To a certain extent, a supervisor is also a lifeline that will listen to employee concerns and help to remedy.
That’s why as a new hire, it’s crucial to make full use of your supervisor.
Like many things in life, what you put into something will determine what you get out.
If you see your supervisor as simply someone you have to speak with, you will miss out on potential benefits. If you want to actively engage your supervisor, you will help your career growth.
Today, I’m going to review 4 tips that will allow you to have a more impactful and mutually beneficial relationship with your supervisor.
1) Come To Every Meeting With An Agenda
Agendas aren’t hard to create, but they represent your desire to have impactful meetings. Think about it. When you create an agenda, you are telling your supervisor:
- You have given thought to the topics you would like to discuss
- You value their input regarding these topics
- You respect their time enough to send topics in advance and allow them to formulate their responses
I think there is a misconception that agendas need to be highly detailed, when in reality, this is not the case.
Agendas only have to be a bullet list of discussion points with no more than a sentence explanation for each. The points either become checked during the meeting or lead into further discussion.
The main idea is that you are thinking ahead and making a point to solicit your supervisor’s feedback, which leads into the second tip.
2) Learn From Your Supervisor
Supervisors are in the position they are in because they’ve worked to get to the next level.
They were once new to the working world and/or various jobs and can appreciate what you are going through. They are a goldmine for answers and advice.
Even if you ultimately don’t agree with what your supervisor says, you can appreciate where it is coming from.
As an example, there have been many times throughout my career where I debated how to follow-up with a client. The client may have been unhappy or disagreed with the strategy. I looked to my supervisors for advice on how to respond. They were there to bounce ideas off of and help me understand the clients’ thoughts.
If nothing else, I was able to verbalize my thoughts and benefit from feedback.
Finally, learning from your supervisor doesn’t have to occur solely during one on one meetings. You can learn strictly by observing. Examples include:
- Sitting in on meetings to witness how your supervisor runs or participates in them
- Studying how your supervisor crafts emails
- Understanding how your supervisor deals with conflict
Always be aware of your supervisors’ actions because you just might learn a thing or two.
3) Challenge Your Supervisor
When I say “challenge” I don’t mean it in terms of arguing with your supervisor.
Just like your supervisor should be pushing you to be better, be willing to ask questions and share your opinions and ideas.
The caveat is that you need to back up your thoughts with reasonable rationale. If you disagree with something or want to dig deeper into a topic, explain why.
I find that new hires can be intimidated by supervisors or don’t believe they have yet earned the right to share their opinions.
First off, you shouldn’t feel intimidated by your supervisor. It’s one thing to respect the position, but if you feel intimidated then something is wrong with the relationship. As far as sharing opinions, remember that the supervisor is there for you. It’s your opportunity to discuss what you want to share.
It’s also beneficial to challenge your supervisor in relation to your personal career growth. You should be asking questions such as:
- What should I be doing to continue learning and improving?
- What is the next step in my development at the company and how can I get there?
- How can I immerse myself more in the company as both a strong employee and brand advocate?
If you are willing to make the effort, your supervisor can help guide your career growth.
4) Credit Your Supervisor
This tip is more about understanding your own growth and giving credit where it is due.
Ultimately, if you perform well at your job and move up the ranks, you are the number one reason why. Your hard work and determination have paid off.
However, you shouldn’t forget those people who helped you get where you are, especially your supervisor.
Remember that your supervisor has taken the time to help you succeed. Even if your supervisor only played a small role, their help has played a role in your growth.
Supervisors are a valuable resource that are often overlooked. It isn’t necessarily intentional on the employee’s part, but it’s crucial to understand how supervisors can help. As a new hire, make sure you are taking advantage of the experience that your supervisor offers.