New to supervising staff? You’ll want to read and put into practice these five success tips:
1. Think that your employees will automatically trust or respect you.
At least not right away. As with anything, respect and trust is earned based on how you interact and communicate with your direct reports. That does not mean that you should just accept less than professional behavior. It does mean that you shouldn’t assume that your position as supervisor means that you do not have to prove yourself with your staff. They want to know through your actions that you are capable of moving the group forward.
2. Assume that you always know what is best.
The ultimate responsibility for making sure that the work gets done rests on your shoulders but that does not mean that you should automatically override the advice of those who work for you.
You already know that your employees are in the trenches performing the day to day work for the company. It is most often your employees who are in the ideal position to offer insights that you may miss or that you are not fully aware of. Ask for their input based on their experiences and the situation as appropriate before making any final decisions.
3.Turn a blind eye to workplace issues
I can’t stress this enough. It is a misstep made by both new and seasoned managers alike.
You have much more control over the progress and outcome of an unpleasant workplace issue if you address problems immediately than you will if you let problems build.
Note that having more control does not always mean being able to influence a positive outcome. It does mean that you have more time to understand a situation and try to lessen the severity of the final outcome.
4. Micromanage capable staff.
This could also fall under the category of not assuming that you know what is best.
You will lose a lot of ground in your own job if you spend too much time looking over your employee’s shoulder and telling them how to do what they are already fully capable of doing.
There is a point where you will have to decide whether you will continue to hand hold someone who does not have the skills for the job or give them the initial coaching and training support that they need then let your employee succeed or ultimately fail.
If you have employees who continue to need your coaching despite additional training or support, it may be time to either reassign your employee or manage them out of the company.
If you find that your employees are highly skilled, but you just can’t stay out of the weeds, work on your micromanagement problem. You cannot be an effective supervisor if you spend all of your time telling others what to do and then hovering over them to make sure that they do it.
5. Ignore employees or limit their access to you.
You may have self-sufficient employees who work well without your constant direction, but that does not mean that they do not need to come to you with a question, for clarification, or for your support from time to time.
I worked with a manager once who never made time to meet with staff; not even for a few minutes. She was always too busy and admitted that she ‘didn’t have the time’ to answer what she thought to be routine questions.
She was extremely surprised to learn through an employee survey that her employees considered her to be ‘standoffish’ and not supportive of her staff. The survey also revealed that her staff felt that she didn’t understand or care about the challenges that they faced.
The reality was that the supervisor believed that because her staff was so highly competent and self-sufficient, she did not want to interfere with their work. Combined with her extremely busy schedule, she unwittingly created an environment that left her staff feeling unsupported.
It took some time and coaching, but the supervisor was able to re-build her relationship with staff just by opening the lines of communication. She set up regular staff meetings and designated blocks of time each week for staff that needed to meet with her.
Managing employees is an essential part of supervising. Supervising means being self-aware, understanding your employees’ needs and challenges, treating them with respect and keeping the lines of communication open. Do these things and you will be successful.
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