The good qualities of a technical employee are usually not enough for the person to become a great supervisor at work. The good news you can learn the skills and traits of a great supervisor with a bit of effort. But if you are already a supervisor, your job is not to have all the solutions to many challenges your team encounters.
It is also important to know that a supervisor role is not about watching and catching people who do the wrong things. Your job is to ensure that team members have the tools and support they need to do their work as required.
What makes a great supervisor?
It is the combination of being flexible, making a better judgment, and having the right skills that make a great supervisor. Many different things happen every day in the workplace, and how you deal with one situation does not always work in another.
A great supervisor is agile and makes a better judgment to decide the most suitable set of actions for every situation – that makes the person a great supervisor.
Here is how to be a great supervisor at work:
1. Learn how to be decisive
If a supervisor worries about making a wrong decision, the first thing you need to know, it is impossible to make the right decision all the time. It is because no one has all the information they need before deciding.
So, use whatever information available to you and decide based on that. Commit to that decision, and don’t spend time second-guessing yourself.
2. Build your confidence
Self-confidence is one of the qualities of a great supervisor. As a leader, you should not be apprehensive because others look up to you for positive guidance. Do not spend your time dwelling on negative things when there is something positive to do.
Also, the best leaders, good managers, and great supervisors make mistakes all the time. Sometimes it is difficult to avoid making mistakes. The key is to hold yourself accountable by acknowledging and fix those mistakes and then move on to the positive thing.
Self-confidence does not mean to be arrogant. Developing a high opinion of yourself will force team members to become hostile to you.
It is essential to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. If you are weak in certain areas of your job, ask qualified team members for ideas and support.
Seeking help from your subordinates does not mean you are incompetent. You do not have to be great at everything, use the strengths of your team members’ strengths to become a great supervisor.
3. Be influential
Being able to influence others is a key leadership trait. If a supervisor cannot persuade individuals to work together, teamwork will not happen. Supervising others is a leadership role. And Leadership is an action that influences others.
So, as a leader, you must know how to influence your followers. Be aware that influencing others is not to manipulate them to do your bidding. That is not it at all. You can present your ideas in a logical way that persuades others to go with you.
4. Develop a positive attitude
Most supervisors get agitated when the job is not moving as they would like to. As a result, they become rude, barking out orders, and push team members on edge.
When a supervisor has a bad attitude, it affects the team. Team members do not want to work with someone who rants all the time. They lose interest in the job, and performances start to drop.
You cannot succeed if your team members are not performing. Supervising a poor performing team can also affect your career growth.
To become a good supervisor, you must have a positive attitude and set good examples. If you arrive at work feeling cheerful it transmits your enthusiasm to the team. But when you turn up with a gloomy face and start criticizing everybody, people will not look forward to a good day of work.
5. Show great commitment
A supervisor who works hard enough has the desire, discipline, dedication, and determination to do well. It should be the standard for any person who is in the supervisory role but wants to become a full manager.
The individuals who are willing to put in more hard work and pursue challenging goals succeed in the end. There is no shortcut if you want to be a great supervisor.
Most jobs require the supervisor to be directly involved in what the team members do. It can be a very demanding role and a frustrating one, particularly when you must deal with many operational bottlenecks.
To be a great supervisor, you must have the determination to succeed. You must also have the desire to work hard and achieve your goal regardless of whatever challenges you encounter on your way.
6. Avoid making assumptions
When an individual is not performing as expected, do not just jump to the conclusion they are not trying hard enough. You must look at the details and see what is going on as opposed to assuming the cause.
As a supervisor, you need to pay close attention to specific data and understand every detail. You also need to learn how to diversify your thoughts if you want to come up with the best decision possible.
When you give other people a chance to put opinions across, it is not necessarily you have to go along with their views. But at least it lets you balance their thinking against your thoughts.
7. Work on your critical thinking skills
When you are a critical thinker, it does not mean being cynical about anything you hear other people say. That is not it at all. Being a good supervisor who thinks critically means that you analyze the message to see if it is valid. In other words, you do not have to take what someone says at face value.
What you hear from someone does not have to be automatically right. Even when the message is coming from a competent person, you need to do your assessment to see whether it is true or not.
It is hard to be a critical thinker. But it is essential to develop critical thinking skills when you work with a group of people who are different in many ways. One of the benefits of developing such skills is, it allows you to have constructive arguments for making the right decisions.
8. Have a good professional conduct
Once your role changes from not overseeing the team to a supervisor, the way you conduct yourself with your former peers must change immediately. Those days when you used to hang out with your colleagues and gossip about your company or managers are over.
When people are still coming to you to vent, ask them politely to stop. Your role has changed to that of a leader. You can have discussions with your team members but not to gossip about things that are going on in the company.
Your role as a supervisor is to lead and supervise the work of team members, not be their friend.
9. Build a good professional relationship
Your past relationships with your work colleagues change the moment you become their supervisor. Developing a positive professional relationship with your former peer is essential.
Maintaining a friendship with the people you lead can be counterproductive. It is something that can undermine your ability to supervise a team effectively.
If you have a good friend on the team, the perception will be that you are going to show them favoritism. Showing favoritism is the quickest way to ruin your credibility as a supervisor.
Changing the relationship with your former peers can be very awkward at first. But with a bit of effort from the supervisor, team members can adjust to the new environment. Just let everyone know that you count on them as a member of the team.
10. You need to be consistent
It is imperative to be consistent not to make team members guess what their supervisor is doing. You need to be predictable because if your team members cannot predict what you want, they are not going to be proactive.
Employees perform best in a predictable environment. They do not want inconsistent instructions, as that can lead to confusion and mistakes.
Also, watch for the contradictions when you are holding people accountable. It is not right to allow a situation where your team members are good one day, and the next day they are poor.
Employees do not need to turn up at work with a positive mindset today, and the next day it is the dark cloud over their heads. The only way you can be a great supervisor is if you are consistent in all your actions.
11. Do not micromanage
Micromanaging is having an obsessive need to control others and take full command of any situation. It usually happens if a manager is lacking trust in the team, and when you become obsessed with attention to detail.
Do not micromanage people. If you are one of those supervisors who want to control everything your team members do, stop. Most employees hate a control freak supervisor and do not want to work for a micromanager.
12. Always listen attentively to understand
Your job depends on how you exchange conversations with your team members and colleagues.
Whether changing shifts or solving a problem, there must be a two-way conversation. Always ensure that you listen as much as you talk, maybe even more to what’s others say.
Effective communication is not about telling others what you want them to hear. It is ensuring that they talk while you are listening to understand their point of view.
Some supervisors do not listen to those they supervise. Many of them always pretend to be hearing when others are talking, yet their minds are somewhere else.
Pay attention whenever you are communicating with others. By doing so, it removes misunderstandings and confusions.
13. Avoid communicating inconsistently
The key to success in your relationships with your team and others lies in your ability to communicate well. However, it’s not the words you use but your body language that speak the loudest.
Body language is your physical behavior like facial expression or gestures you make to communicate nonverbally.
Sometimes what comes out of your mouth and that you transmit through your body language may be two different things. For instance, if you tell a team member one thing, but your body language is saying something different, the person may silently question your intentions.
Your body language can contradict the message you are trying to send and make the person listening to think you may not be telling the truth.
If you want to avoid misunderstandings, pay attention to both your verbal and nonverbal communication. Each should reinforce what the other is saying and not contradicting one another.