Becoming a Supervisor and Managing Personnel

As a supervisor, you will have various official responsibilities.

  • You will be responsible for producing your unit’s annual staffing memos, evaluations, and recommendations concerning reappointment, tenure, and promotion for your colleagues.  Some information concerning staffing memos can be found here.
  • You will be responsible for annual evaluations of staff performance.  Though you may feel discomfort at assuming this role, these evaluations are an important tool in both maintaining the smooth functioning of your unit, but also in signaling to staff the importance of their roles.  Staff often appreciate the feedback, and even when feedback is not entirely positive, appreciate the attention paid to their work and performance and the guidance that will allow them to improve.  These are elements of professional development, and are no less important for staff than fellow faculty colleagues.  Forms to be used in conducting these reviews can be found here.  Additional information and resources for you as a supervisor can be found here and here (and you should feel free to contact Human Resources if you have any questions.)
  • Recognize that because faculty chairs in a unit turn over with some frequency, staff find themselves in the position of having a new supervisor quite often. This is not an easy situation as different chairs have different working styles, and many do not fully appreciate the way that staff view their roles with respect to faculty.  It is worth having explicit conversations with each staff member about their job responsibilities and that you provide them with the opportunity to explain and discuss their working relationships with the different members of your unit.  It is worth also clarifying the job expectations for each staff member with faculty in your unit.  Staff often do not feel that they can decline faculty requests, with the result that there can be wide variation in what some faculty imagine staff in a unit are expected to do.  Recognize also that in many cases staff working hours are considerably less flexible than faculty assume, and are regulated by law.  If you have questions about this, contact the Director of Human Resources.
  • Familiarize yourself with institutional policies by consulting the faculty handbook, the administrative staff handbook., or the support staff handbook. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Dean of Faculty or the Director of Human Resources.
  • If you suspect that a colleague may need assistance of a more extensive or personal nature than you can provide, you can direct them to the Employee Assistance Program (available through Human Resources) which provides all Williams employees a wide range of support services. Note that there is also a “hotline” for managers (877-267-1585)