Is It Better to Be Respected or Liked as a Supervisor?

April 18, 2022

Is It Better to Be Respected or Liked as a Supervisor?

So, a promotion. Well done. You have taken over your old boss Albert’s job. You will now be supervisor to staff who, until you got this new job, were your colleagues.

Honestly, this is a tough way to start in management. I think it’s actually easier to supervise people you don’t know in your first supervision job.

But a promotion is a promotion and there is the whole thing about gift horses.

Here’s a situation you might run into in the early days of your new role.

How do you get respected as a supervisor?

Candice comes into your office. Before you were promoted, you and Candice worked on many projects together.

Candice:Hey, nice office! So how does it feel being the big cheese?
You:Please. I’m not even a little cheese.
Candice:I’m really glad you got the job. We can really get going now that old Albert is gone.
You:Ah, I’ve had worse bosses.
Candice:But you’re gonna be so much better. I mean, you’ve been down in the trenches with us.
You:Well, thanks. I’ll certainly try.
Candice:And, with Albert out of the way, we can change the routing process.
You:Well, I dunno…
Candice:Sure, if we quit letting so many people know, we could speed the whole thing up.
You:Yes, but…
Candice:Come on, Mia, you were as ticked off as I was. Now you can do something about it.
You:Maybe I should ask Bruno (your new boss).
Candice:Hey, you’re the boss now. You think Albert asked Bruno about every little thing?
You:No, but I’m new…
Candice:Best time to make the changes.
Candice:Well, will you or won’t you?
Candice:Come on, Mia. Everybody will be really happy if you do.
You:Well, I guess so.
Candice:Great, I’ll get right on it.

Was it the right move?

Hmmm—hard to know. However, it was evident you weren’t sure about the change. It felt as if you didn’t want to offend Candice by saying no. The clincher seemed to come when she said that everyone else in the group would be happy with you if you made the change.

I think this is an example where your need to be liked by your staff took precedence over even your own doubts. Listening to your employees is an important component of managing well and you want it to be a regular part of your style. But there’s a difference between listening and being pushed around. You won’t be respected if you can be pushed around.

In the next post, let’s see what might happen if your decision is implemented.

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