Why are supervisor skills important?
These proficiencies are essential because they set the tone for the workplace. If someone is a good supervisor, they can perform their job more efficiently and gain more respect from their peers and subordinates. It can be challenging to learn all of the skills needed to be an effective leader, but a few key items should be noted.
A “supervisor” is anyone who directs and is responsible for the work of others. This person is familiar with the daily work their staff and receives direction from those who make bigger decisions for the company. Overall, they need to be able to:
- Communicate well with diverse groups in and out of the organization
- Utilize problem-solving skills, creativity, and critical thinking
- Demonstrate qualities like empathy, support, and concern
- Be able to develop their employees based on their individual strengths
There are 15 essential skills for supervisors that they need to possess in order to do their job as successfully as possible.
- Excellent Communication
Communication skills are one of the most important assets a good supervisor should have. They need to assign projects clearly and communicate important information to staff regularly. Transparency is important, and supervisors should strive to keep an open door for employees to approach them with their needs or issues.
- Conflict Resolution
Conflict can happen in the workplace. A good manager recognizes this and creates an effective method of minimizing conflict and dealing with it when it takes place. Being a good listener and mediator is also important in tricky situations.
- Strong Leadership
The supervisor should serve as an example to their staff. They must assert leadership and make their employees want to follow them as they take their organization through normal business changes. A strong leader will encourage their team and lead the way to success.
- Critical Thinking
There are may tasks that a supervisor needs to deal with that require excellent critical thinking skills. With a high-level position comes more responsibilities, and more decisions to be made. Critical thinking skills make the decision process easier.
- Time Management
Time management is essential in a business with deadlines and deliverables. Being able to juggle timelines and meet goals regularly means supervisors must have both the awareness of when things need to be complete and how much time it takes to do them – plus getting their team to work on the same timeline as well.
- Priority Management
Managers must also be able to structure the workload to ensure all projects are given the correct amount of priority, and that high priority projects are finished first. They need to be familiar with all company goals in order to determine which projects are the most important.
- Diversity Awareness
Diversity is extremely important in organizations today. A great manager recognizes this and encourages their company to continue working on company diversity and inclusion (D&I). The supervisor may even decide to to join the team that works on D&I in order to help with the initiative more.
- Problem Solving
When issues in the workplace arise, supervisors should use their skills to handle them. Great problem solving skills help a manager assess the situation at hand and develop an effective plan on how to tackle it.
- Guiding Workloads
Supervisors need to guide the overall work of their employees. Their view of work must be broader than that of their employees. Being an effective supervisor means understanding the bigger picture, and adjusting work to accommodate that. They must give direction and carry it out purposefully, plan the workflow and give active direction to staff members.
- Workload Organization
Constantly changing priorities in the office mean that a supervisor needs to continually organize the work. They needs to take into account the demands placed on the employees when they are organizing the workload. They should also recognize the employees’ needs and listen to feedback when making work and organizational decisions.
- Staff Development
A large role of a supervisor is developing personnel. Thorough and strategic employee development is essential for a happy and satisfied staff, so supervisors should get to know their subordinates’ strengths and ambitions so they can help them grow as a valuable asset within the company. They should have a plan for the employee’s development, and set goals for how they can work on their weaknesses and contribute to projects where they are likely to succeed.
- Managing Performance
The supervisor is responsible for managing employee performance. They should continually coach direct reports on how to achieve their individual potential and set appropriate expectations. Managers should look at future projects and determine how well the employee should perform, and manage them accordingly. On occasion, there may be performance problems with a member of the team. In this situation, the supervisor must calmly approach the issue and discuss a plan to overcome it.
- Interpersonal Skills
Developing and maintaining good relationships with other departments is also vital. The supervisor wants to ensure both their employees and the organization meet their goals, so they should recognize the importance of working together cohesively.
- Openness to Advice
The supervisor should look to their peers for advice and guidance when they are faced with a problem that is outside of their expertise. Issues can be assuaged successfully when they have a mentor in their organization or field who is willing to offer advice when requested.
- Willingness to Learn
A last trait that supervisors should have is the willingness to learn and grow. While their team is learning, they too should be developing themselves in their careers and trying to learn as much as they can about both their subject matter and about supervising their employees in the best way possible.
With these essential skills, managers can effectively solve any supervisory issues they may encounter, and prepare for future situations that require the oversight of a knowledgeable and dedicated supervisor.
Need more help on improving your supervisor skills? With the Supervisory Skills Questionnaire, you’ll learn how supervisors are the vital link between your organization and others that you work with. The product is a combination assessment, peer feedback, workbook, and half-day training program that equips supervisors with the skills they need to tackle the everyday challenges they face in the workplace.