By Stacey Winter, MS, LCMFT | empac CEO

I noticed recently that empac’s supervisor newsletters are one of the most widely read of our offerings. I started thinking about my own experiences in becoming a supervisor. Simply put, I was ill-prepared and had created a story about how things would go. 

As a young adult, when given the title of supervisor, of course I felt excited and proud of myself. But I also remember thinking, “My boss believes I’m ready for this, so I must be.” And “It will be nice to work less and be paid more.” And “People seem to like me, so they will be happy about this.” And “This is a good team, I know the job duties well, so supervising will be easy.” It is embarrassing to admit these things, but I suspect others have fallen prey too. 

It did not take me long to figure out that while I did get a raise, it certainly was not easier, and because I was working more hours than ever, I was making less money than before. It took me much longer to learn it didn’t have to be like that, and managing work and people takes a different set of skills, even if you’ve done the job a long time, know the people, they like you, and your boss believes you are a good fit for the role. 

I had no idea a training program, peers, or a mentor would help prepare me, and I was afraid to ask for those things or share my struggles with my boss. So, I acted like I knew what I was doing, but inside, I did not feel successful and continued to work long hours in secret to try and get ahead. Eventually, there was a negative impact on my well-being and relationships, but I did not understand why. 

I not only struggled with my time management, but also with communication, giving feedback to employees, team dynamics, and how to clarify expectations from them. I have heard these same things from people who come to build their supervisory skills through coaching services at empac.

It was long overdue, but I finally confided in my dad. He gave “the speech” and handed me a book, The One Minute Manager. That started me on the path of recognizing the skills I needed to build, the support I deserved, and the significance a supervisor plays in a person’s life. 

I committed to ongoing learning to be the best version of myself so I could lift others up. Hopefully leaving a positive impact on those I supervised, not only through genuine care but maximizing their strengths and holding them accountable to learn, grow and accomplish more than they ever thought they could. 

In the just-released Gallup State of the Global Workplace report, most employees are not engaged, and 62% show up, do the bare minimum, and are uninspired. Another 15% are actively disengaged, typically have a bad supervisor, are miserable, and are looking for a new job. These two groups make up for $8.9 trillion in lost productivity worldwide. You may have heard it said that people don’t leave companies; they leave bad supervisors. The Gallup report goes on to say supervisors account for 70% of the variance in a team’s employee engagement. Yet, they also have more daily negative experiences than non-managers and are more likely to be looking for a new job. 

With all this in mind, empac has created a free, confidential place for supervisors to share, process situations, gain skills and form supportive peer relationships. The first-ever series of meetings for supervisors of any level and experience will be weekly for four weeks on Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., July 11, 18, 25, and Aug 1. The meetings will be at empac, and snacks and drinks will be provided. We hope you join us when you can. To RSVP or for more information, reach out to Stacey at

Young happy supervisor supporting her team