Maintenance supervisors are responsible for organizing and coordinating work for technicians to ensure facilities and equipment are kept in good state of repair and that tasks are carried out efficiently. While doing this, they are also responsible for ensuring compliance with quality, health, and safety regulations. A successful supervisor will have to develop the ability to lead and influence their team members. Because of this, a technician aspiring to become supervisor is expected to grow their soft skills while keeping in touch with their technical skills.
Soft skills are personal attributes that enable a person to effectively work with other people. These are a combination of social skills, attitude, character and personality traits, and emotional intelligence. Some specific soft skills include adaptability, effective communication, creativity, work ethic, integrity, problem-solving and more. Soft skills can be as much a part of someone’s nature as they can be obtained through experience and, therefore, can be developed.
The technician’s intentionality in preparing for a supervisor role will make the difference between getting the new job or falling short. Our tips below assume that the technician has decided on their career path and that becoming a supervisor is part of it.
Tips on how to get promoted to supervisor
Tell your boss you want the position
Set an appointment to discuss your career path with your boss. During this time, cover specific goals and timelines. These things could vary depending on the size of the organization and the structure of the department. In larger organizations, you may have to go through multiple technician levels before becoming a supervisor. In a smaller organization, the path to supervisor may be more direct but that also means learning personnel management skills faster will be part of your development plan. In any case, expectations need to be set properly.
Master your current responsibilities
Take full accountability for the tasks that have been assigned to you. If you were hired on as a technician that is responsible for maintaining a certain line of equipment, take full responsibility for both the success and failure related to that equipment. Get familiar with the types of metrics that are related to your performance and find out how current measurements can be improved.
Understand the responsibilities of a supervisor
Once you’ve demonstrated your knowledge and consistency in your responsibilities as a technician, start learning about supervisory roles and responsibilities. Key functions at the supervisor level involve planning and organizing tasks for other technicians. Ensuring those tasks are done according to established procedures, time limits, and in a safe manner are also part of the role.
Get to know your customers and their needs
Customers can essentially be classified two ways: internal and external. In the case of a technician, internal customers are your fellow technicians, boss, equipment operators, and other coworkers that work within the company that rely on your performance. Operators and schedulers rely on technicians to keep machines up and running so they can get their work done efficiently.
External customers are those who pay your employer and make your paycheck possible. Meeting their needs are essential as their dissatisfaction could mean taking their business and money elsewhere. Technicians that can align their performance with their customers’ requirements are sure to gain their boss’ attention.
Become an apprentice
Indeed, experience is the best teacher but another person’s experience is a less costly teacher. Find out if there is an opportunity for you to observe and shadow another supervisor or just someone more skilled than you are in a certain area. Shadowing someone more skilled than you can accelerate your learning as you’re able to observe how things are done, maybe even ask questions and gain some hands-on experience along the way.
Actively seek learning opportunities
Find out what resources your employer provides for you to develop in your career, such as specific skills training, certifications, or tuition assistance benefits. There may be a list of formal requirements needed in order to get the promotion you’re looking for. Familiarity with OSHA safety standards, for example, could be a requirement and different industries may have a different set of standards.