We have all heard the expression, “if you want something done right, then do it yourself.” We all know people who follow this mantra and are tireless workers. They get things done and they get it done right. These are the people who stand out and often are marked for promotion. However, therein lies the problem because the skills that a manager or supervisor needs are very different.

When a staff member gets promoted and becomes a supervisor the transition period is critical. They need to press the reset bottom and be prepared to learn a whole new set of skills. The danger is that they will fall into their default mode of “doing” it themselves. Unfortunately “doers” seldom make good supervisors.

A supervisor leads a team and the team will perform at its best if each member is reaching their potential. That entails an investment of time with each of the team that at first might be considered a waste of time by the new supervisor. Rather than a waste of time if structured properly this can be one of the most important things that a supervisor “does”.

There are three essential steps in becoming a good supervisor.

1. Plan
If adequate time is spend on planning then a supervisor and their team can act proactively rather than react to situations as they arise. When a supervisors is reacting then its more likely they will fall into the temptation to do the job themselves. Good planning enables a team to look at the week, month, quarter or year ahead and highlight important tasks and events.

2. Set Goals
Setting goals are vital because they define priorities and expectations. Good planning highlights significant upcoming events and goal setting orders them and assigns a team member to achieve them. Goal setting should be a collaborative process with each team member giving input on how best to use each person. If goals are self identified rather than imposed the team member is going to take much more ownership for their achievement.

3. Assess Performance
The third step is timely and ongoing feedback. An effective supervisor is willing to invest time coaching and mentoring team members. They should know how each team member is performing and act proactively if there are performance issues.

Of course each of these steps can be unpacked further but they are essential to becoming highly effective supervisor. Good management stresses the importance of adequate training for new supervisors. It’s a good investment whose return will be seen many times over.


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