Supervisory Leadership

Site Map About Wally Bock Media Center Speeches & Training
Home Page
Book Reviews
Got a Question or Comment?
Wally Bock Answers Your
Supervisory Leadership Question

I've just been promoted and I'm supervising people I've worked with.

When your colleague becomes your boss or when you get promoted and are asked to supervise former colleagues, you're facing one of the toughest situations there is. Here are a couple of things to know about the transition.

The reason that the transition from individual contributor to boss is one of the toughest in business is that your work, role and support system all change at the same time. Some of the folks who may have been part of your support system may now not be able to fill that role.

Second, the transition isn't quick or easy. A successful transition usually takes 12 to 18 months. But your company's expectations and your own are often that the transition will only take a couple of days, or a month at most.

There are two kinds of behavior that new supervisors usually exhibit. There's "Boss" behavior where they accentuate the hierarchy, give orders and expect compliance. There's "Buddy" behavior where the new boss tries to be everybody's friend. Neither one works alone.

That's why folks who make a successful transition try both and then spend some time developing a style that balances the twin jobs of supervisor: accomplish the mission and care for the people.


You may reprint or repost this article providing that the following conditions are met:

  • The article remains essentially unaltered.
  • Wally Bock is shown as the author.
  • The notice Copyright 2006 by Wally Bock or similar appears on the article.
  • Contact information for Wally is included with the article. You may refer readers to this Web site as a way to meet this requirement, or use the information on our contact page.

Any other reprinting or reposting requires specific permission which is almost always granted. Click here to request permission if necessary.


Got a supervisory leadership question for Wally? He'll answer as many questions as his workload permits and put the ones with most universal interest on this site. By asking your question you agree that it may appear here at some future time. Your name and affiliation will not be used on the site in conjunction with your question.

To ask Wally a supervisory leadership question, click here to go to our question form.


© 2006 Wally Bock. Click for Contact Information.