(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

8 Things Supervisors Can Do to Improve Themselves

Supervisors, as the linchpin between management and frontline employees, play a fundamental role in any organization’s success. However, to maximize this potential, supervisors must focus not only on their team’s development but also their own. Here, we delve deeper into eight strategies supervisors can adopt to hone their skills and excel in their roles.

Good, Bad, and Average Supervisors

There are different types of supervisors and there are many different supervisor leadership styles. In this section, we’ll look at what makes a good, bad, and average supervisor. This will give you some insight into where each leadership style can be improved.

Good Supervisor

A good supervisor embodies strong leadership qualities and effective management skills. They are both an effective communicator and an active listener. They not only clearly articulate tasks and expectations, but also provide constructive feedback, and support, and are receptive to suggestions from team members.

Another quality of a good supervisor is the ability to motivate and inspire their team. This fosters a positive, productive environment where everyone feels valued and heard. They possess an empathetic understanding of their team’s needs, are proactive in addressing concerns, and can swiftly resolve conflicts. Furthermore, they demonstrate a strong commitment to their team’s development, providing opportunities for growth and learning.

Bad Supervisor

In contrast, a bad supervisor often lacks these qualities. They may exhibit poor communication skills, neglecting to provide clear instructions or meaningful feedback. Often, they are dismissive of their team members’ ideas or concerns.

A bad supervisor may create a hostile work environment, where employees feel undervalued or threatened. They may micromanage, stifling autonomy and creativity, or they might be overly hands-off, providing little to no guidance or support. This type of leader typically fails to promote individual and team growth, possibly due to their own insecurities or lack of competence.

Average Supervisor

An average supervisor falls in the middle. They may demonstrate some desirable qualities such as basic communication skills and a fair level of organization, but they lack the exceptional leadership skills that characterize a good supervisor.

An average supervisor may inconsistently provide feedback or fail to motivate their team effectively. While they maintain the status quo and ensure tasks are completed, they may not inspire exceptional performance or foster a culture of continual learning and improvement. They meet expectations without exceeding them, maintaining adequate performance while falling short of excellence.


8 Things Supervisors Can Do to Improve Themselves

1. Become More Organized

Improving organizational skills is a powerful way for supervisors to increase productivity, reduce stress, and improve team dynamics. Here are several strategies supervisors can employ to enhance these skills.

To begin, effective planning is a fundamental aspect of good organizational skills. Using tools like digital calendars, project management software, or even traditional planners can help supervisors map out their tasks, deadlines, and key priorities. It also allows them to allocate resources efficiently and keep track of team members’ responsibilities.

Next, time management is crucial. By identifying and focusing on high-priority tasks, supervisors can ensure they’re using their time effectively. Techniques like the Eisenhower matrix, which categorizes tasks based on their urgency and importance, or the Pomodoro technique, which breaks work into intervals with short breaks, can be helpful here.

Organizing the physical and digital workspace can also aid productivity. Keeping a tidy desk, managing files and folders efficiently, and utilizing digital tools to streamline processes can reduce time wasted looking for documents or resources.

Lastly, adopting a system for tracking progress and adjusting plans as necessary is essential. Regular review sessions can help supervisors assess the effectiveness of their organizational strategies and make necessary changes.


2. Develop Effective Communication Skills 

Communication, an integral part of any supervisor’s skillset, entails more than merely transmitting information. It involves active listening, constructive feedback, and the clear articulation of ideas. Effective supervisors can communicate expectations, instructions, and goals clearly, leaving no room for ambiguity. They encourage open dialogue and foster a safe environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their thoughts.

Furthermore, non-verbal cues like body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions can significantly influence the effectiveness of communication. Engaging in courses or training focused on improving communication can prove beneficial.


3. Strengthen Emotional Intelligence 

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize and manage your emotions, as well as the emotions of others. A supervisor with high EI can empathize with their team members, effectively manage stress, handle conflicts wisely, and cultivate positive work relationships.

Practicing self-awareness is a fundamental aspect of emotional intelligence. Supervisors should strive to understand their emotions and how they impact their actions and decisions. If you’re not aware of your own actions and decisions and how they will effect your work, it will be hard for your team to follow you.

Improving emotional regulation is a key factor in EI. It involves managing and controlling emotional reactions in various situations. Techniques such as stress management and taking a moment to pause before reacting can help with this.

This is a skill that cannot be learned overnight. You’ll need to make this a focus for some time before you can master your EI. Be consistent and willing to learn from your mistakes and you’ll see the process get easier over time.


4. Foster Team Engagement 

Team engagement is not just about job satisfaction; it’s about creating an environment where team members feel valued, motivated, and aligned with the organization’s goals. It is often an overlooked responsibility of being a supervisor.

There are a lot of reasons for low employee engagement. Supervisor and managers need to find the root of the low engagement and find ways to combat the disengagement. Creating an atmosphere of transparency and openness can boost team morale and productivity.

Changing things up can also impact engagement. Supervisors should not be afraid of tackling this issue head on.


5. Master Delegation 

Delegation is one of the most difficult things to learn for most leaders. Especially leaders who like to be in control. The reason is that delegation is not just giving work to others. It also means entrusting them with responsibility and autonomy. But it doesn’t need to be as hard as it seems. This is a very reachable skill to master.

Begin by understanding each team member’s strengths, weaknesses, and capacity. Delegate tasks accordingly, ensuring that each assignment aligns with individual skill sets and promotes development. Moreover, provide the necessary resources and support, and regularly check in without micromanaging. Effective delegation can empower team members, enhance productivity, and foster a high-trust environment. 


6. Providing Feedback 

Giving employees feedback that is constructive and fosters change is a tough skill to learn. But, feedback is a crucial tool for improvement. There’s not going around it when you’re in a leadership position.  Constructive criticism helps team members identify areas for growth, while positive feedback reinforces good practices.

To work on this skill, learn some of the best techniques for providing feedback that works.

Here are a few of the most common.

  • The SBI™ (Situation-Behavior-Impact) Method: Developed by the Center for Creative Leadership, this involves describing when and where the event took place, explaining what the person actually did, and the the effects of the person’s behavior.
  • The Sandwich Method: This is a common approach where the feedback provider starts with a positive comment, follows with the constructive criticism, and then ends with another positive comment. The idea is to create a “sandwich” with the criticism in the middle.
  • The Stop-Start-Continue Method: In this technique, you tell the person what they should stop doing, what they should start doing, and what they are doing well and should continue. This is a very straightforward approach.
  • The 360-Degree Feedback: This involves collecting feedback from a variety of sources. That includes co-workers, subordinates, other supervisors, and even themselves. This gives a more rounded perspective of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • The COACH Method: This method stands for Connect, Observe, Ask, Communicate, Honor. First, connect with the person receiving feedback to build rapport. Then, observe and clarify the behavior that needs changing followed by asking probing questions to encourage self-assessment. From there, communicate feedback directly and constructively and Honor the individual’s commitment to improve.


7. Taking Feedback

Providing feedback to employees is one thing, receiving feedback and applying it is a completely different thing. However, the ability to do both is a strong sign that you’re improving as a supervisor. Receiving feedback effectively t offers insights into your leadership style. You also get a good idea of your strength sand weaknesses from your direct report’s perspective. There are several ways supervisors can improve their ability to receive feedback.

Firstly, cultivate a mindset of openness. Feedback, whether positive or negative, is an opportunity for learning and growth. By viewing it as constructive, supervisors can overcome any initial defensive reactions and become more receptive.

Next, be willing to ask clarifying questions. If feedback is vague or unclear, supervisors should seek additional information to understand the full context. Asking questions such as, “Can you provide an example?” or “How did this affect you or the team?” can help.

Finally, try not to take anything personally. Emotion regulation is critical here. Supervisors should strive to manage their emotional reactions when receiving feedback. Avoid immediate defensive responses or negative emotions. Instead, focus on understanding the feedback’s content and intention. Remember, the willingness to receive and act on feedback is a hallmark of great leadership.


8. Encouraging the Team

Leaders of all kinds need to know how to encourage and motivate a team. However, motivation isn’t a button you press once while you sit back watch your team react. It is something that you should continue to work on and improve. What motivated your team last month may not motivate them this month

Supervisors should inspire their team members to perform to the best of their abilities. One of the most effective ways to encourage employees is through the practice of genuine recognition. Appreciating their hard work and acknowledging their contributions can go a long way in boosting morale and increasing job satisfaction. This could take the form of a simple “well done” or more formal recognition like awards or bonuses.

When supervisors see their team’s focus, production, or morale start to decline, it is up to them to encourage the team to bounce back. It can start by addressing issues or trouble employees. But, it can also be by creating unique ways to motive


Being an effective supervisor involves constant learning, growth, and self-improvement. All of which will benefit both your team and your organization as a whole. There are many challenges of being a supervisor. But remember, becoming an outstanding supervisor takes time. But, it will be will worth it.


Also read:

What is the Difference Between a Manager and Supervisor?

How to Be a Good Supervisor: 8 Things to Start Doing Today

Thomas Martin
Tom is a member of the Editorial Team at StartUp Mindset. He has over 6 years of experience with writing on business, entrepreneurship, and other topics. He mainly focuses on online businesses, digital publishing, marketing and eCommerce startups.

Like this article? Get updates by email and get our eBook for FREE

Subscribe and Get Updates!


Invalid email address
Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Article Tags:
· · · · · ·
Article Categories:
Grow Your Business · Leading Your Team · Productivity · Sales · Your Mindset

Tom is a member of the Editorial Team at StartUp Mindset. He has over 6 years of experience with writing on business, entrepreneurship, and other topics. He mainly focuses on online businesses, digital publishing, marketing and eCommerce startups.

Recent Posts