Buddy to Boss: Going From Supervisor to Superhero

Buddy to Boss: Going From Supervisor to Superhero
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-10-25
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Buddy to Boss
Unit 2 Transcript: Buddy to Boss
Unit 3 Workbook: Buddy to Boss
Unit 4 Recording: Buddy to Boss

Promotions are rarely a walk in the park. The path to it may be full of obstacles in form of screeners or assessments. And once the coveted spot is attained, the change to the new role can be disorienting if not just downright challenging, especially when it is from a frontline role to a first-level supervisor. This webinar provides guidance on how newly promoted first-level supervisors can better navigate the shift from being a buddy to being the boss.

This session’s instructor is Ed Pallas. Ed is a District Commander with the Montgomery County Department of Police (MCP). He served across different roles in his 27-year career with the MCP including being a Conflict/Hostage negotiator for the last 20 years and has taught thousands of professionals as an educator internationally.

Ed’s discussion covered the following topics:

  • The difficulties that come with transitioning from a frontline worker to a supervisor and Ed’s own experience with this.
  • An overview of the law enforcement profession’s career process from hiring to promotions and the discrepancy between the two.
  • The reality of the work involved at the first-line supervisor level, the skills required and duties to fulfill for the role, and the lack of training to learn these skills and perform these duties.
  • The critical role of mindset during this transitory phase and the value in adopting a growth mindset and leaving the fixed mindset behind as a leader.
  • The five levels of training, what it looks like, and examples of which.
  • The two most common reasons people cite as the motivation for them becoming leaders and debunking leadership myths.
  • The false dichotomy placed between management and leadership and the importance of viewing one as a precursor to another and carrying out both behaviors.
  • The inevitability of mistakes, how leaders are not immune to it, the best recourse following a mistake, and the concept of psychological safety which is critical when mistakes are made.
  • Steps on how to handle buddy-to-boss scenarios:
    • Having the conversation with a peer vying for the same position to proactively address the issue before it becomes a problem.
    • Laying out what the new role entails and setting clear boundaries to friends that are now subordinates.
  • The benefit of managing expectations and establishing ground rules from and for the people you will be reporting to and who will report to you.
  • How leaders are learners and leadership is an ongoing journey that one continually traverse.
  • The value of a growth mindset and learning – be it from mistakes or resources like books, courses, and mentors, among others to gain tools to become better leaders.
  • How there is no one right way to do leadership and how every leader’s experience will vary.

Questions from the webinar participants are about:

  • Surviving a toxic leadership through followership.
  • Managing an employee engaging in constant subordination.
  • Encouraging honest feedback without turning the interaction into a gripe session.
  • The best way to meet and engage with a new team.
  • Managing the workload as a new supervisor.
  • Addressing unfavorable opinions from other supervisors.
  • Getting to the root cause of underperformance.


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Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Thank you for presenting about this topic! There is obviously a need to cover leadership and conflict resolution at any agency, especially in LE. The presentation was cohesive and understandable. The instructor is very well educated on the subjects reviewed.” — Trevicas
  • “I found most of it very valuable. My takeaways are psychological safety piece and setting the expectation for staff. Those are now 2 goals of mine to ensure going forward as a boss.” — Kim
  • ” This was validation and a refresher – made me proud because i literally have done many of these things innately – also was writing a graduation speech recently for trainees and was going to make a comment about making mistakes along the lines of what he said.” — Dee
  • ” I like that he gave us additional resources we can turn to for more information on the topic.” — Cindy
  • “Confirmation that first-line supervisors make the most difference or are the most influential as our current administration has created layers of beaurocracy and has forgotten this and the importance of those doing the actual work, our line officers. So, thank you.” — Cris
  • “Thank you for sharing how to deal with underperforming staff and how to deal with staff who are disrespectful. Your advice on how to approach the situation was helpful and will be utilized in case I come across it.” — Desiree
  • “Much of the information presented was needed to help me better understand my supervisory role. It put a lot of things into perspective and gave me ideas on how to deal with some of the issues that I have before me.” — Amie
  • “It was good to hear about what to do after you’re promoted over a friend and learn what their goals are so you can help them reach their full potential.” — Angel
  • “This is the best Webinar I have participated in. Kudos to the facilitator!” — D’Jaris
  • “Personal stories, advice, and lessons learned from the presenter. It felt very one-on-one and down-to-earth.” — Jamie
  • “As a new sergeant, everything that was discussed I’m dealing with. I’m having a hard time putting on the boss hat with people I have worked the road with for 10+ years. This was very helpful and gave me new ideas for dealing with some of the challenges I am seeing.”– Matthew
  • “It was good to hear the things that can be done to enhance the managerial role and relationship when working with persons who were either co-workers or work friends. It also gave ways to deal with underperformers etc. by explaining that you establish minimum standards and expectations etc. with supervisees who may be challenging and or underperforming.” — Diana
  • “Two good points were how to handle the jealous coworkers and the over-critical boss who targets certain employees.” — Deborah



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