Supervising is one of the most important roles at a company. While that person is not the main producer of products or services, they are an ambassador for their company. They are the person that must instill the company’s values into the employees they supervise and are the first step in the chain of command. With that being said, a supervisor is a leader who must wear many hats. They are not expected to be masters of every job that they are asked to be managers of, but they should have a basic understanding. This can all be overwhelming for someone new to the position. But following a few steps can take the internal pressure off of a person and make them a more effective leader.
1) A Supervisor Must Listen and Engage
Listening is one of, if not the most important thing a supervisor has to do. Employees are the backbone of the company. They are the ones who produce the goods, products and services of any business. So when they have a concern, it is up to the supervisor to be the first in line to be able to address those concerns.
This seems simple enough, but a lot of times employees will not directly address a supervisor with their questions or concerns. They will go to their coworkers or internalize the issues. A good supervisor must be able to understand their employees and be proactive in addressing issues. They must keep up with the business related chatter going on among the employees. This doesn’t mean being nosy and butting in on private conversations, but engaging with the employees and asking questions.
A supervisor must take every concern at face value and as legitimate. Not doing so can lead to accusations of favoritism. However, they must also be able to prioritize which concerns require more attention. A claim of harassment, for example, should be a high priority for management, while a complaint about break times and scheduling should be on a much lower tier.
2) A Supervisor Must Be Organized
Because a supervisor juggles many different jobs throughout their day, it is important that they are organized. This could be as simple as using planner or calendar to organize the day. A supervisor should try to block out times to do all of the essential tasks of the job. However, they should also be flexible with what they plan on doing because the job might demand their attentions elsewhere. A day planner should only be used as a guide, not as an absolute.
Another tool to stay organized is a small notepad. Writing down information throughout the day helps keep it fresh in the memory and is good for recall later on. For example, if an employee tells a supervisor they need to leave early, writing it down will allow the supervisor to remember it when the time comes.
3) A Supervisor Must Minimize Stress
Stress is a natural part of any job, especially high pressure supervisory roles. However, minimizing those stress points can make the day run smoother and can make the supervisor much more productive. Writing things down can relieve stress. Stress can be caused by trying to do too much at one time. Writing things down frees up the brain from having to remember everything that is going on throughout the day.
Another way to minimize stress is for a manager to become good at delegation. Running a business is a group effort, but a lot of times supervisors put a lot of pressure on themselves to be the one to do everything. If a job can be done by someone else as effectively, it is perfectly fine to delegate that job to them. This isn’t done to get out of responsibility, but to give everyone on the team a feeling of ownership in the business. Not every job can be delegated, and it is extremely important to only delegate jobs to people that can handle them because at the end of the day the supervisor is still responsible for it.
4) A Supervisor Must Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Keeping work separate from the personal life can make a supervisor much more productive. Too many times, a person will spend their entire off day thinking about their job. This not only leads to stress, but can lead to poor job performance as well. A good supervisor focuses on what they can do for the company while they are at work and takes their free time to rest and relax. This allows the person to come in to work on their next shift refreshed and able to look at the day’s challenges with a renewed perspective.