As a new supervisor, it is sometimes difficult to prioritize where to spend your time. In addition to completing all of the tasks that have short-term deadlines, you must keep a focus on the future and dedicate time to things in preparation for “tomorrow” (even if that is years down the road.) And if you’re a visionary thinker, you’ll probably have some ideas that impact other departments or those outside of your supervisory purview.

One way to frame your work is through a matrix that considers supervision scope (whether it is within your area of responsibility or outside of it) and ease or difficulty of implementation. You should consider where your tasks fall on the matrix to assess whether you are spending your time in the proportion that you desire.

If you spend all of your time on things that are easy, it’s likely that you are not considering the long-term as much as you should. If you only work on tasks within your direct scope, you may wish to adopt a more external focus for some projects. By evaluating your responsibilities and where you spend your time, this matrix can help you assess a holistic view of the work ahead of you.

Thanks, Brian!


I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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