How to be an effective supervisor

How to be an effective supervisor

Leadership Skills for the Modern Manager

You just landed a promotion and you are excited about it. After all, you have worked so hard to get here and seeing your work bearing fruits is everyone’s dream. With this promotion comes the job to supervise a person or a group of people and you are not so sure about your supervisory skills since this is all new to you. Moreover, some of the people you will be supervising are people you have worked with at the same level and you need to keep being their friend as well as being their supervisor. You want to be an effective supervisor, someone who gets the job done and keeps a good and well-motivated team.

While you definitely have the technical skills for the job, as evidenced by your promotion, you need the following additional skills so that you can be an effective supervisor as well.

Emotional intelligence

How to be an effective supervisor

An effective supervisor is one who offers leadership, resolves conflicts and provides an ear for their team. This is a person who can recognise their own emotion in a situation, recognise the emotions of others, is empathetic and has top-notch social skills. Emotional intelligence is a critical skill in modern day management where teams are diverse and there is a need for work-life balance.

Learner

How to be an effective supervisor

As much as you are the leader of the team, there are things that you will not know. A good leader is constantly trying to improve his/her knowledge base and encourages other team members to also learn. In a world where self-learning has been made easy by technology, learning should be constant and an effective leader is one who shares new information with the rest of the team. It is a person who seeks constant self-development and the development of the team. Tragically, studies by CEB Global shows that only 10% of managers are learners.

Approachable

Gone are the days of impenetrable walls surrounding a boss, complete with a secretary who made it hard to access a manager. Modern teams require very close working relationships and as a manager, there is a need to establish a working relationship with your team members so that you can offer leadership and facilitate the achievement of goals.

Political Authority

How to be an effective supervisor

Office politics are frowned upon but political authority is the ability to rally people towards a similar cause and achieve set goals. Sometimes, you will be given the tough task of convincing your teammates to take on an undesirable task or of implementing an unpopular policy. At this point, you will need the skill to convince your teammates to be receptive to the new idea and this requires good political skills. An effective leader should be able to win others over, especially in difficult situations.

Good at Delegating

An effective leader ought to be able to delegate a task to a person who has the right skills to handle it. This maximises the team’s talent, nurtures good skills for those who get the work done and ensures that tasks are handled well and in good time. Delegating also shows that you have confidence in your team, which boosts the team’s morale and ability to learn new skills. It also goes without saying that a good leader is able to let people creatively come up with solutions to problems without micromanaging them. Giving people the freedom to find solutions to problems boosts their problem-solving skills, makes them more confident and grows the team’s overall skills. Delegating tasks and responsibilities also frees up your time as a manager and lets you focus on the most important tasks at hand.

Flexibility

Different situations call for different approaches and it is the mark of a good manager to come up with creative and unique solutions to unique problems. Having the flexibility to come up with fresh tactics to manage each emerging situation allows you to develop good problem-solving skills and gives your team the confidence to trust you to solve emerging problems uniquely.

Gives Clear, Timely and Effective Communication Regularly

How to be an effective supervisor

Management involves a lot of communication on expectations, company changes, and goals. A team is kept together through constant communication as this ensures that everyone is on the same page and things are done in good time. It is the work of the manager to always keep the team in the loop. It also means that a good manager ought to have good crisis management skills, where any rumours are cleared in good time and effectively. Any problems and fresh issues that might arise are addressed in a timely manner.

Treats team members as partners

You are the boss and that is well-established. However, subordinates appreciate it when you treat them as partners as well as getting them to play a part in decision-making and drawing up of strategies as opposed to subordinates who merely receive instructions. Team spirit requires that you give your subordinates the chance to take control of their activities and you involve them in departmental activities as well. This shows leadership and enhances collaboration.

Shows no Favouritism

It is human nature to have a favourite, to prefer one person or thing to another. However, this does not augur well with your teammates when you are a supervisor. It divides your team and diminishes your authority. Even if you have a favourite, try to stay neutral. Solve disputes in a neutral way and provide leadership. When your team members trust you to make neutral and well-informed decisions, they will trust you and your decisions.

A leader is Ethical and Trustworthy

You cannot preach water and drink wine and expect your subordinates to trust and respect you. An effective leader stays on the right course and can be trusted to make the right decision even if it is painful. Remember, your subordinates look up to you and if you are unethical, they lose their respect for you and this erodes your authority.

In conclusion, an effective supervisor is one who offers leadership and brings the team together. It is someone with good communication skills, neutral, trustworthy, flexible and who knows how to delegate effectively. The leader should also be a learner and should treat their subordinates as partners. In a world where teamwork is cherished, a good leader should be able to find unique ways of holding the team together and rallying team members towards a common cause.

What are some of the effective leadership skills you use or have experienced in the course of your career?

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How to be an effective supervisor

Supervisors play an integral role in the organizational structure and hierarchy of a company. They help manage other employees in the process of carrying out their daily tasks and ensure business operations run smoothly and efficiently.

It is common knowledge supervisors are not born, but rather developed – so we feature this class regularly in the PCC Professional Development and Training program. While some people have a knack for leadership, most employees are also capable of developing the soft skills necessary to successfully perform supervisory duties.

Important Supervisor Qualities

Individuals striving to move into a leadership position should work on honing these eight qualities of great supervisors. These soft skills can help supervisors better perform their manager-like roles and responsibilities, which include organizing workflow, setting performance goals and deadlines, promoting productivity, and supporting fellow employees.

1. Effective Communication

A majority of workplace failures can be attributed to ineffective or inaccurate communication, making it an especially important quality for leadership. Supervisors should develop exemplary written and verbal communication skills to help them speak with impact, clarity, and brevity. They also need to be adept at giving both positive and negative feedback, as well as receiving constructive criticism and input themselves.

2. Leadership

There are numerous ways to define leadership, and it may manifest differently, depending on the industry, company culture, or management structure. However, certain leadership qualities are universal. Good supervisors take initiative while also providing support, motivation, and accountability to other team members. They have their own robust skillset and are willing to perform menial or mundane tasks to ensure a program or organization runs properly.

Supervisors also must possess the ability to objectively evaluate their team members; identify their strengths and apply them to the appropriate areas; and recognize any needs for improvement.

3. Empathy and Compassion

Supervisors are dealing with employees who are, first and foremost, humans. They will struggle, experience failure, and have bad days. While certain behavior and errors are unacceptable in a professional environment, supervisors should approach team members and their struggles with empathy and compassion. Those responses will lead to better problem-solving and improvement compared to anger or impatience while also bolstering company loyalty.

4. Conflict Resolution

Conflict in the workplace is inevitable and not necessarily a negative thing. All conflict means is that change is happening and people’s stances or perspectives differ. If a supervisor can competently handle conflict, it becomes an opportunity for strengthening relationships and developing robust solutions. An important part of successful conflict resolution is learning different conflict styles, methods, and triggers to help cultivate a process for both preventing and addressing it within a department or organization.

5. Ability to Delegate

While supervisors should have exemplary work ethics themselves, it’s equally important they know how and when to delegate. Employees want to feel like valuable parts of their company and integral to helping it achieve success. Delegation can become an effective tool for empowering employees. Supervisors must be able to identify which ones are best-equipped to handle certain tasks and find useful ways for every team member to contribute to a project or program.

6. Problem Solving

The keys to problem solving within the workplace are critical thinking, creativity, and consistency. Supervisors are relied on frequently to take the lead when an issue arises. Their job is to find the root of the problem and then follow an acceptable and structured process for addressing it. Ingenuity can be a useful part of problem solving, but it’s important that supervisors also follow company policy and procedure to ensure certain situations are dealt with fairly, consistently and, in some cases, legally.

7. Time and Priority Management

Time is limited and certain projects or tasks are more urgent than others. A good supervisor is able to prioritize and delegate accordingly to ensure they are completed in a timely and efficient manner. With excellent time-management skills, a supervisor is able to oversee their team’s heavy workload in the most productive way without leaving employees feeling stressed and burned out.

8. Confidence

Employees take note of their supervisor’s attitude. When a supervisor makes decisions confidently and then communicates them candidly, that can create a more productive, positive atmosphere. Not only do employees feel more confident in their supervisor’s leadership abilities, but they also appreciate the clarity and direction. Of course, not every decision a supervisor makes will lead to the intended outcome. In that case, it’s equally important for them to humbly accept responsibility, learn from the mistake, and choose a different course.

Preparing to Effectively Oversee Others

Regardless of your path as a supervisor, everyone in a leadership role can develop new skills that help them more successfully manage their team. Portland Community College’s Role of the Supervisor course with the Professional Development and Training program can help emerging leaders or those seeking a supervisor position develop a constructive philosophy and approach to overseeing other employees.

How to be an effective supervisor

Clinical Supervision is a key component in social worker and therapist training. Not all clinical supervisors are created equally. If your supervisor is employed by the agency where you work, you may not have any choice in your clinical supervisor. However, if you are hiring your own clinical supervisor, you will want to find someone who is not only competent and experienced, but has these traits of an effective clinical supervisor.

  1. Strengths based – this is hallmark of social work practice and should used in supervision as well as with clients. You and your supervisor should assess and acknowledge your strengths so they can be used to the max. You shouldn’t leave supervision feeling badly about yourself or your work.
  2. Consistent – your clinical supervisor should meet with you on a regular basis (generally, at least once per week). Honestly, I’m a bit appalled by how many supervisees tell me previous supervisors didn’t meet with them regularly.
  3. Encouraging – a clinical supervisor should be an excellent listener and validate and encourage your experiences. Sometimes an administrative supervisor don’t have the bandwidth to really sit and listen. I find a clinical supervisor provides encouragement that can be lacking otherwise.
  4. Accountable – a clinical supervisor is both accountable for his/her own actions and decisions and should hold you accountable for yours.
  5. Provides constructive feedback – a clinical supervisor is required to provide regular feedback to supervisees. Feedback provides important information for you about your job performance, strengths, and areas for growth.
  6. Responsive – when you have a client in crisis, you want to know your supervisor will be responsive to your questions and needs.
  7. Strong ethics – your supervisor should educate and model appropriate ethics.
  8. Clear boundaries – again, your supervisor should model appropriate professional boundaries. S/he isn’t your friend, should share personal information appropriately, etc.
  9. Provides practical answers – a supervisor should have the knowledge and experience to answer your questions and give meaningful suggestions and directions.

How does your clinical supervisor measure up? I hope you’ve identified many of the traits of an effective clinical supervisor in your own supervisor. And if you are a supervisor, this list can be a great place to start your own self-assessment.

If you found this helpful, please share the article and join our mailing list for continued updates.

Sharon Martin

Sharon Martin has a passion for clinical supervision, mentoring new social workers, blogging, and reading all things social work related. She is a California Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years in the field. Sharon has worked extensively in Bay Area non-profits and successfully runs a private counseling practice in San Jose. Sharon writes regularly for PsychCentral and the Good Men Project. She’s also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism.

There may be some adjustments before a new supervisor is fully accepted by the workforce, but choosing someone with the right skill set can make the adjustment seamless. A supervisor who is fair, knowledgeable and approachable quickly earns respect and gains the esteem of team members. A confident supervisor with good people skills keeps the team on track and resolves issues before they turn into problems.

Excellent Communication Skills

A supervisor’s primary responsibility is overseeing employees to ensure that work is done correctly. The supervisor can accomplish that task with efficiency by providing clear direction that tells the workers exactly what’s expected of them. Clear communication is a sign of good management.

Timely communications regarding procedural changes and team targets keep everyone on the same page and maintain a smooth workflow. Communication that is unclear or incomplete can cause confusion, slow down productivity and lead to processing errors.

Listening is an essential part of communicating. An effective supervisor actively listens to understand a worker’s concerns thoroughly. With a good grasp of the situation, the supervisor can respond in a way that is appropriate, constructive and respectful of the employee.

When a supervisor communicates with business partners and clients as the voice of your company. excellent communication skills are an invaluable asset.

People Skills are Good Management Skills

If you want to retain employees and motivate them to do their best, you need a leader with solid people skills. A supervisor who maintains a positive attitude, behaves with consideration and consistently treats employees fairly is likely to see positive work behaviors in return. Workers who feel valued are encouraged to perform. Engaged employees are more productive employees.

From a staff perspective, supervisors are less effective and less likable if they hide out in their offices all day. The supervisor who takes the time to walk around and greet staff each morning is seen as more approachable. If workers are not hesitant about approaching the supervisor, they’re more likely to communicate their frustrations. This early warning gives supervisors the opportunity to ward off problems and prevent flagging morale.

Positive interpersonal exchanges help to boost engagement and foster a team environment. A boss connects with staff when she shares a story about her grandchild’s birthday party. These small interactions give supervisors and staff a better understanding of each other and create common ground in the workplace.

Self-Confidence Inspires Confidence in Others

To motivate their teams, leaders have to demonstrate leadership qualities. A supervisor’s show of confidence instills trust in workers and allows them to leave the supervisory duties where they belong. Displays of indecision, a lack of knowledge and an inability to delegate undermine a supervisor’s effectiveness. Employees who don’t have faith in their boss may avoid asking questions, resort to using their own judgment or take their concerns to a higher level.

When you hire from within your organization, you’re likely to get a supervisor with the confidence built through hands-on knowledge of the company’s mission and processes. External hires can make up for lack of inside knowledge with fearless decision making and faith in their own abilities.

How to be an effective supervisor

Clinical Supervision is a key component in social worker and therapist training. Not all clinical supervisors are created equally. If your supervisor is employed by the agency where you work, you may not have any choice in your clinical supervisor. However, if you are hiring your own clinical supervisor, you will want to find someone who is not only competent and experienced, but has these traits of an effective clinical supervisor.

  1. Strengths based – this is hallmark of social work practice and should used in supervision as well as with clients. You and your supervisor should assess and acknowledge your strengths so they can be used to the max. You shouldn’t leave supervision feeling badly about yourself or your work.
  2. Consistent – your clinical supervisor should meet with you on a regular basis (generally, at least once per week). Honestly, I’m a bit appalled by how many supervisees tell me previous supervisors didn’t meet with them regularly.
  3. Encouraging – a clinical supervisor should be an excellent listener and validate and encourage your experiences. Sometimes an administrative supervisor don’t have the bandwidth to really sit and listen. I find a clinical supervisor provides encouragement that can be lacking otherwise.
  4. Accountable – a clinical supervisor is both accountable for his/her own actions and decisions and should hold you accountable for yours.
  5. Provides constructive feedback – a clinical supervisor is required to provide regular feedback to supervisees. Feedback provides important information for you about your job performance, strengths, and areas for growth.
  6. Responsive – when you have a client in crisis, you want to know your supervisor will be responsive to your questions and needs.
  7. Strong ethics – your supervisor should educate and model appropriate ethics.
  8. Clear boundaries – again, your supervisor should model appropriate professional boundaries. S/he isn’t your friend, should share personal information appropriately, etc.
  9. Provides practical answers – a supervisor should have the knowledge and experience to answer your questions and give meaningful suggestions and directions.

How does your clinical supervisor measure up? I hope you’ve identified many of the traits of an effective clinical supervisor in your own supervisor. And if you are a supervisor, this list can be a great place to start your own self-assessment.

If you found this helpful, please share the article and join our mailing list for continued updates.

Sharon Martin

Sharon Martin has a passion for clinical supervision, mentoring new social workers, blogging, and reading all things social work related. She is a California Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years in the field. Sharon has worked extensively in Bay Area non-profits and successfully runs a private counseling practice in San Jose. Sharon writes regularly for PsychCentral and the Good Men Project. She’s also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism.

How to be an effective supervisor

Successful supervisors know what is going on in their organization. They have knowledge about objectives and plans, their product, organizational hierarchy etc. It is necessary for them to store all this information otherwise they will not know where to look for information about all these matters.

They also possess technical knowledge such as production technology, basic principles of management like planning, organizing, directing, motivating and controlling. But these are not the only qualities and skills a manager, leader or decision maker needs to be successful. In this article you can find 11 attributes every great supervisor needs.

Personal qualities

  • Emotional balance: The supervisor works in situations which involve authority, leadership, meeting targets and deadlines, conflicts etc. The successful supervisor has to be able to maintain emotional balance and self-control so that they may face various situations confidently and successfully.
  • Being proactive: The supervisors have some objectives to achieve. They cannot plan everything in advance. Several times they have to respond to the needs of the situation which has arisen suddenly. The supervisor must also be able to have qualities such as being committed, having a missionary zeal, taking responsibility instead of passing the blame to others.
  • Creativity: It means that the supervisor must have the ability to come up with new responses to situations. They must have new ideas and also be able to recognize a good idea when it comes from another source.
  • Mental agility: The supervisor must have the ability to grasp problems quickly, to think of several things at the same time, and assess the whole situation quickly. In the busy modern world of business this quality is necessary for success.
  • Learning habits: Effective supervisors are independent as learners. They take responsibility for the rightness of what is learned, and are not dependent on others.
  • Self-knowledge: Whatever the supervisor does is affected by their own view of their job and role, objectives, strengths and weaknesses etc. So they must be aware of these attributes. Hence the supervisor must develop skills of looking at himself critically.

Managerial skills

In order to handle their jobs effectively supervisors require a combination of five key managerial skills. These are classified as technical, human, conceptual, diagnostic and political. The first three have been recognized for many years. Diagnostic and political skills have also now received attention as organizations have become more complex.

Technical skill

Technical skill is proficiency in a specific activity that involves methods, processes, procedures or techniques. Individual performers expect their supervisor to be able to help them with technical problems.

Human skill

Human skill is the ability to work with, understand, motivate, and communicate with individuals and groups. Human skill also includes the ability to communicate with people, to resolve conflict, and to discipline. Since the supervisor’s job involves constant interaction with people, human skills are essential.

Conceptual skill

Conceptual skill is the ability to understand abstract or general ideas and apply them to specific situations. Conceptual skill usually means understanding how the total organization can be affected by a specific activity. Although it may not always be apparent, every action taken in an organization has ramifications elsewhere.

Diagnostic skill

Diagnostic skill is the ability to analyze the nature of a problem with people, ideas, things or events. A good diagnosis precedes a recommended solution to a problem (like in medicine or automotive repair or management). Supervisors are frequently called on to size up a problem in order to take appropriate corrective action.

Diagnostic skill overlaps with the other four managerial skills. This occurs because supervisors usually need to use technical, human, conceptual or political skills to make their diagnosis.

Many supervisors regard diagnostic skill as the most exciting part of their jobs. An experienced supervisor expressed it this way: “Figuring out what’s wrong is why I am here. If all problems had a ready solution, you wouldn’t need a supervisor.”

Political skill

Political skill is the ability to acquire the power needed to achieve one’s objective. Specific political skills include being able to win others over to your cause.

How to be an effective supervisor

Supervisory Skills

If you would like to learn more about management, leadership and more, then Supervisory Skills is the right book for you.

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Front-line leaders are proving to have the most influence on the overall success of an organization. But what makes a good supervisor?

Supervisors today find themselves in a unique position. They are charged with creating an environment in which their employees can achieve superior performance, yet they often have minimal control over that environment. They have to be in charge of all of the work from start to finish, and they are held responsible if goals are not met. Being a supervisor is challenging, but with certain skills it can be easier and more fulfilling.

An era of increasing government regulation, sophisticated technology, movement toward cross-functional teams, and diverse, entitled, and better-educated employees has turned the role of supervisor upside down. The skills required to operate effectively in such an environment differ substantially from those exercised in an environment in which the supervisor had complete control over his or her work group and their work environment.

HRDQ’s experience and research have revealed that certain identifiable and definable skills, when learned, make supervisors more effective. Below are five key skills.

How to be an effective supervisor

Guiding the Work

Supervisors need to take the direction of the organization and translate it into actionable plans for the work group. The supervisor’s view of work must be broader than that of his or her employees. Being an effective supervisor means understanding the bigger picture, which includes the goals of the organization. Supervisors should clearly communicate and espouse the company values, while simultaneously creating a challenging and satisfying work.

Organizing the Work

Supervisors assign the right people to the right tasks and provide necessary resources to meet work goals. Shifting organizational and personal priorities necessitate almost constant reorganization of work. The supervisor, with responsibilities to the organization, must consider the impact on the bottom line. Equally important is for the supervisor to take into account the demands placed on the employees. The supervisor must keep the needs of his or her direct reports in mind while organizing the work. To be most effective and maximize employee engagement, the supervisor is encouraged to understand what motivates his or her employees, be sensitive to their needs, and actively listen and seek their feedback.

Developing Direct Reports

Supervisors know and actively work to increase the skill level of each employee being supervised. The important component of developing direct reports is gaining knowledge of employees as individuals. Each employee has his or her own skills, abilities, needs, and personality. A supervisor who is aware of the unique features of each person in the work group will be best equipped to help them meet their potential. Investing in an employee’s development takes commitment, trust, a well-defined objective, clearly established action plans, and follow-through by both the supervisor and employee. Delegating work to employees builds the skill base of the organization and frees the supervisor to develop his or her own skills.

Managing Performance

Supervisors should remove the obstacles to better performance so employees can meet their own and the organization’s objectives. The obstacles to employee performance can be found both within the employee and in the work environment. An effective supervisor is mindful of and manages obstacles in both areas. A large part of managing performance involves the continual coaching of direct reports to achieve their potential. Coaching begins with looking to the future and deciding what level of performance can reasonably be expected of an employee. Beyond teaching employees how to perform, the supervisor should strive to instill in them the self-confidence in their ability to perform.

Managing Relations

Supervisors should develop and maintain good relationships with other groups so that the supervisor’s employees and the organization meet their goals. Managing relations should be guided by the goals of the organization. Taking an organizational perspective in dealings with one another puts the supervisor and the other groups on common ground, providing a reasonable basis for decision making. When it comes to interfacing with these groups, real cooperation is not a matter of getting along well; it’s taking into account the constraints and goals of others.

Supervisors are the vital link between your organization and its work groups. Learn more about how supervisor skills can work for your team with Supervisory Skills Questionnaire .

Assess & Improve Supervisor Skills

Supervisors are the vital link between your organization and its work groups. Learn more about how supervisor skills can work for your team with the

References

  1. Caruso, D. R., & Salovey, P. (2004). The emotionally intelligent manager: How to develop and use the four key emotional skills of leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  2. Certo, S. C. (2013). Supervision: Concepts and skill-building (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
  3. Dotlich, D. L., & Cairo, P. C. (2002). Unnatural leadership: Going against intuition and experience to develop ten new leadership instincts. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  4. Drucker, P. F. (2005, January). Managing oneself. Harvard Business
  5. Fuller, G. (1995). The first-time supervisor’s survival guide. Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  6. Morieux, Y. (2011, September). Smart rules: Six ways to get people to solve problems without you. Harvard Business Review, 89(9), 78–86.
  7. Thompson, B. L. (1995). The new manager’s handbook. New York, NY: Irwin.

certainty. innovation. excellence.

Have you just been promoted into a supervisory role? Are you a manager who needs to supervise many team members? Here are the five important skills you need to master:

How to be an effective supervisor

1. Delegation skills

Supervisors can’t do everything by themselves, and most importantly, effective supervisors know that they can’t do everything. Instead, they need to delegate.

Delegation itself is not an easy thing. A supervisor needs to transfer his or her decision-making authority to another employer who has the capabilities to do such task. However, he or she still has the ultimate responsibility over the work that has been delegated.

2. Performance evaluation skills

An effective supervisor knows how to evaluate his or her employees. It is challenging, as it is hard to deliver constructive criticism, and even harder to deliver constructive criticism well. However, a good supervisor knows that performance evaluation is critical to the employees’ growth and job satisfaction.

3. Training skills

Supervisors supervise; and when it is apparent that their employees need to upgrade their skills, supervisors need to be aware of this and conduct further trainings on a regular basis. This will in turn improve both the employees’ and company’s development in the long run.

4. Decision making skills

Making a decision is hard; making a decision and bearing the consequences is even harder. A good supervisor needs to be able to weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision for all parties.

5. Time management skills

On top of supervising his or her employees, a supervisor also has a set of other deadlines and responsibilities that he or she needs to tend to. Therefore, being able to manage time wisely is a very important skill to have.

Want to learn more about being a skilled supervisor? The Institute of Management offers a Supervisory Skills course. Visit our website to find out more.

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