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

Entrepreneurs, small business owners, and anyone in a leadership position understand the challenges of supervising a team. We’ve all heard stories of horrible bosses. Chances are, you’ve got a horror story of your own. However, a great boss makes a big difference within any company. This supervisor will inspire the team to work together, respect each other, and share ideas. A positive attitude will spread.

Whether you’re learning how to succeed as a new manager or you’re striving to improve your management skills, you can make a difference. Several key skills are necessary if you want to succeed as a supervisor. Here are some tips on how to be a good supervisor.


Adjust Your Managerial Perspective

If you’re already a supervisor and unable to overcome some of the typical challenges supervisors face, it may be time to change your perspective. Changing your managerial perspective means switching your approach and seeing your position in a new way. It also means viewing your team through a new lens. This shift in your perspective will help change your mindset and, ultimately, the way you lead.

The first step to changing your perspective is to identify and understand your current perspective. What are your beliefs, assumptions, and biases about management? What are your goals and priorities as a manager? Once you have identified your current perspective, challenge your assumptions.

 Ask yourself if your assumptions are based on facts or if they are simply your own beliefs. Look for evidence that supports or contradicts your assumptions. Then speak with your peers about your findings. Begin to create a picture of the type of supervisor you want to become.


Develop Strong Communication Skills

One of the most challenging aspects of being a supervisor is fostering good communication in the workplace. Whether it’s on a phone call, in a meeting, or an email, setting the right tone is important. Regardless of how you communicate, it’s critical to maintain a professional tone and demeanor, even in situations that may be filled with tension or conflict. Treating employees with respect at all times is imperative.

Part of being a good communicator is managing the demands on your time. Email alone can be overwhelming, and it can become a huge distraction from the most important parts of your job. However, if left unresponded to, unanswered emails can leave an impression that you are unresponsive or unengaged.

Designating a certain time of day to respond to routine emails will help you from becoming overwhelmed. This will allow you to protect your time and maintain a reputation as a good communicator.

Another aspect of clear communication is adapting your message to different audiences. This can come into play if you’re hiring new staff or training them to do your jobs. 

Part of being a good supervisor is being able to explain company or department policy, break down what is unclear, and clarify the difficult parts.

Your new employees may have different work experiences, and they may have different backgrounds. As you speak with them – individually or in groups – it’s important to look for cues that they understand or do not understand what you are saying. Body language can offer clues that they understand what is being said. Do not assume that your message is being understood. Assumptions are often wrong. 


Learn to Delegate Well

Delegating is just one of several qualities of a good supervisor. It can be a difficult task if you’re used to doing everything by yourself. Very often, delegating becomes an exercise in trust. This can involve building strong business relationships, following up on the status of projects, and managing multiple projects. Delegating means placing trust in other people so that they can handle something just as well as you can. This involves teamwork, and it can allow other people to show their expertise.

This is crucial as it allows you to distribute tasks effectively and efficiently. Doing this will free up your own time to focus on higher-level responsibilities. Here are some tips to help you learn to delegate better:

  • Identify tasks that can be delegated- Look for tasks that can be done by others on your team. These may be tasks that are routine or require less expertise than your own.
  • Choose the right people- When delegating tasks, choose team members who have the skills and expertise to complete them successfully. Consider their strengths, interests, and development needs when assigning tasks.
  • Provide support and resources- Ensure that team members have the resources they need to complete the task successfully. This could include training, tools, or access to information.
  • Trust your team- Trust that your team members will complete the task successfully.
  • Monitor progress- Check in with your team members periodically to ensure that the task is progressing as expected. However, be sure to void micromanaging or over-controlling the process.


Provide Coaching and Guidance

Coaching and guidance from a supervisor can help employees excel in their jobs. This can be an important piece of turning a job into a career. An employee may be curious about their future with the company, and a supervisor who takes an interest in their professional development can quickly turn into a mentor. 

Seeing the positive potential in your employees before they see it themselves is part of what makes you a leader, not just a boss. 

You can be a great coach by providing guidance for employees that are ready for more responsibilities. Great supervisors empower employees to move towards these opportunities, even if it means losing them to a different team within the organization. 

Great supervisors empower their teams to aspire to excellence.


Be Approachable

As an employee, you probably developed relationships with your peers by smiling, saying hello, and asking them how their weekend was. As a manager, being approachable takes on a whole new meaning. Your job title adds a layer of intimidation to those who report to you. 

Consider this: Have you ever asked your team for their thoughts on something, and heard nothing but silence? Chances are, there were ideas, but there was something in the room: fear of what might happen if those ideas were communicated.

It takes time and trust for a manager to be seen as approachable. Your employees will take cues from you as to whether or not you are truly approachable. You communicate approachability by how you treat employees and how you respond to employee feedback. This contributes to an overall impression in each employee’s mind as to how candid they can be with you, and how approachable you are. Employees need to know that it’s “safe” to offer ideas, or else they will remain silent.


Reward and Recognize Good Performance

Everybody’s working for the weekend, but recognition and rewards can build morale. Good supervisors do their best to offer rewards and recognition. This can be in the form of monetary bonuses and regular verbal or written praise that the employee is doing a good job.

When employees are recognized and rewarded for their good performance, it motivates them to continue performing well. It also helps employees feel valued and appreciated in their roles. One of the reasons for low employee engagement is the lack of recognition in their jobs. 

Lack of recognition can also hurt employee retention. Good employees often quit their positions if they are performing well but are not recognized for their efforts.


Provide Constructive Feedback

Another way to be a good supervisor is to provide constructive feedback consistently. When constructive, quality feedback is missing, this can be a huge barrier to a team’s performance. However, effective supervisors know that they can coach their team members toward high performance. 

Part of this requires setting clear expectations for each employee. This also means that when a team member doesn’t meet those expectations, feedback is given. Great supervisors give clear, fair, constructive feedback that is intended to guide every employee toward success.


Ask for Feedback

Although an important part of your job is to provide feedback, if you want to improve as a supervisor it is also important to gather feedback about your job performance. By soliciting feedback from your team, you can identify areas where you may need to develop your skills, knowledge, or approach. When supervisors ask for feedback, it demonstrates that they are committed to improving their performance and are open to input from their employees. This can increase employee engagement and satisfaction, as it shows that their opinions are valued.

Also, supervisors who seek feedback from their employees are more likely to make informed decisions. This is because they have a more complete understanding of the impact of their decisions on their team and organization. Too often, a decision is made by a leader with good intentions. But some well-meaning supervisors often overlook how a decision that benefits one employee, makes the job of another employee more difficult.

Asking for feedback about your own performance can insure that you are not ignorant of your shortcomings. It will ultimately show that you are dedicated to becoming the best supervisor you can be.



Many employees don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. Being a great supervisor can make all the difference. Learning how to be a good supervisor requires developing several skills, and this takes time. Trust is one of the most critical elements to inspiring and developing a team. Over time, managers can become leaders, inspiring confidence in their teams to achieve more than they thought they could.

Erin Shelby on TwitterErin Shelby on Wordpress
Erin Shelby
Team Writer: Erin Shelby is a writer and blogger based in Ohio. Follow her on Twitter @ByErinShelby

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Find Your Way · Grow Your Business · Leading Your Team · Your Mindset

Team Writer: Erin Shelby is a writer and blogger based in Ohio. Follow her on Twitter @ByErinShelby

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