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Superstar to Supervisor

Superstar to Supervisor



No one can make a widget like you. You are THE widget making superstar. King of Widgetland. If there was a statue cast of an ideal widget maker you’d be the model.

So as the best-of-the-best you get noticed by senior leadership … and quickly promoted to be the Supervisor of all the other widget makers.


Widgets are easier than people.  As a widget maker, you liked coming to work, pulling the widget-making-lever then going home to a peaceful night’s sleep knowing you did your very best job today, just like everyday.  Now managing people leaves you awake at night.  So many questions:  How do I delegate?  What about all the HR rules I’m supposed to know?  Do they respect me? 

Who ever wrote the rule that managing people is a promotion? Especially managing those you once worked along-side?

This is a natural progression in the business world, and many superstars prove to be super successful as leaders.  However, no one is alone in the steep learning curve of going from being managed (and taking responsibility for your own success) to managing others (and having your success measured by the productivity of those you supervise).  It is not for the faint of heart. And it’s not for everyone, no matter how much pay increase is involved.

We are quick to promote our superstars but then don’t always give them the tools (or the time) to achieve Supervisor Stardom.

Since leadership accuman can make or break a culture and an organization’s success from the inside out this elevation of superstars is an important cultural consideration. It is both critical and an enigma. It takes a commitment, time and resources.  Small and large businesses alike can improve by making this a key focus in their people resources development plan.

Proudly, I’m working with a group right now on this specific cultural initiative and they’re making great headway. Much like any ‘self-help’ topic the first step is admitting you have a problem! What this group realized is most managerial-level employees, especially those recently promoted, are not going to raise their hands and say, “I need help” or (gasp), “I really don’t know what I’m doing.”  We decided to proactively offer assistance, education and support rather than wait for a catastrophe.

Together we are working on breaking up what is considered the elephant of mastering Supervisor Stardom into small bite-size coaching opportunities by focusing on critical topics – such as accountability, delegating, setting expectations, problem solving and change management – one at a time through “Energizer” exercises.  Each Energizer session will provide focused education and supervisors will leave with realistic and actionable take-aways (rather than leave meetings overwhelmed with notebooks and unattainable plans, feeling like they tried to sip a drink from a fire hose).

Man lifting training materials
It’s all about working leadership skills like a muscle in the gym.

It’s all about working leadership skills like a muscle in the gym. Left dormant, muscles atrophy.  Energized and worked routinely, they grow.  How do we help these superstars flex their muscles as supervisors?

Have you experienced this phenomenon in your organization when promoting ‘Superstars’ or maybe even experienced this yourself in a promotion?  I would love to hear from you!


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