What Are the Most Important Skills for Supervisors?

Great supervisor skills are essential for managers who want to lead their team to success. If a supervisor has poor skills, they will be more likely to fail at meeting goals and retaining great employees. Supervisors are responsible for getting work done through others and they are the front-line leaders who influence service and quality. But they need to have the skills required in order to meet company objectives.

The Five Key Skills

There are five specific skills that supervisors need to master in order to be an effective manager:

  1. Guiding the Work. The supervisor should take the direction of the organization and translate it into actionable plans for the team. The supervisor’s view of work must be broader than their employees. Being an effective supervisor means understanding the bigger picture. Supervisors should clearly communicate company values and goals, while simultaneously creating a challenging and satisfying work experience for their group.
  2. Organizing the Work. The supervisor should assign the right people to the right tasks and provide necessary resources to meet work goals. Shifting organizational and personal priorities necessitate almost constant reorganization of work. The supervisor should take into account the demands placed on the employees. They must keep the needs of their direct reports in mind while organizing the work.
  3. Developing Direct Reports. The supervisor should actively work to increase the skill level of each employee being supervised. The important component of developing direct reports is gaining knowledge of employees as individuals. Each employee has their own skills, abilities, needs, and personality. A supervisor who is aware of the unique features of each person in the work group will be best equipped to help them meet their potential.
  4. Managing Performance. The supervisor should remove the obstacles to better performance so employees can meet their own and the organization’s objectives. A large part of managing performance involves the continual coaching of direct reports to achieve their potential. Coaching begins with looking to the future and deciding what level of performance can reasonably be expected of an employee.
  5. Managing Relations. Supervisors should develop and maintain good relationships with other departments so that the organization meets its goals. Taking an organizational perspective in dealings with one another puts the supervisor and the other groups on common ground, providing a reasonable basis for decision making. Cooperation is not just a matter of getting along well – it takes into account the constraints and goals of others.

The Benefits of Good Supervisory Skills

When a supervisor has effective management skills the entire team thrives. A strong manager will develop and inspire their team and will continually contribute to the success of the entire company. Having great supervisor skills can lead to many benefits. Some of them include:

  • Happier Team Members. When a supervisor masters essential skills like workflow management and team building, they will create an organization that runs smoothly and allows employees to feel heard and appreciated. This leads to a more content and happy team.
  • Better Communicating. A supervisor who knows how to communicate well with their staff will lead by example – creating an environment where strong communication is essential. The team will likely follow their manager’s lead and become more communicative in their own day-to-day work life.
  • More Financial Success. A business that has strong leadership in place is more likely to be financially successful. A supervisor with good financial sense and detailed planning skills will be able to make decisions with the bottom line in mind.
  • Higher Employee Retention. A supervisor with great management skills will hire top talent and help grow them professionally, leading to a more satisfied staff that is less likely to leave the organization. Further, it costs a company much less money to retain a staff than to continue hiring through high turnover.
  • Increased Productivity. Supervisors can increase employee productivity by using their team’s interests and skills to guide their decisions, determine project assignments, and provide career support. This encouragement can lead to increased productivity for both the team and the supervisor themselves.

Learn More

For more help with these important skills, attend the Supervisory Skills 101 – What Makes a Great Supervisor? webinar on Dec. 6 from 2-3 p.m. EDT. Webinar attendees will learn how to identify a supervisor’s strengths and weaknesses; the actions supervisors should avoid; how to help supervisors plan, prioritize, and delegate; and the skills for supervisors that build productive relationships.

This webinar is designed for organization development professionals, human resources professionals, consultants, supervisors, and managers. It will be hosted by Keera Godfrey, a change management and training consultant who helps organizations connect, build, and invest in their greatest asset – people. Watch the free webinar here: What Are the Most Important Skills for Supervisors?

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