10 May 2022

Being a great supervisor requires significant skill

Author: Robyn Mercer, Brave People Solutions.

Now is the time to ensure the necessary and important skills are in place for all supervisors, team leaders and middle managers because the lack of these skills has an immensely damaging impact on teams and organisations.

Building frontline management skills across all parts of the organisation is vital because it is supervisors and managers who have the most direct impact on:

  • employee satisfaction
  • productivity, and
  • service delivery.

Organisations who lack skilled supervisors will face high turnover – hence the research showing that people don’t leave organisations, they leave managers.

In the new post-COVID normal, there has to be good reasons for people to be fully engaged with work and to be keen to return to the workplace.  Competition for great staff is higher now than it has been for decades.

We work with great organisations who make significant investment in developing their senior and emerging  leaders, and rightly so.  We feel strongly that there also needs to be development programs in place for frontline managers.  It is reflected in the saying ‘you need to walk before you can run’ in terms of skills development because organisations need people with the foundation skills in place to build the best possible workplace, and to ensure a great pool of supervisors from which the leaders needed now and in the future can emerge.

Here is a list of skills for frontline managers taken from VET requirements.

▪ communicating with team members and management to ensure open communication channels and to clarify issues.
▪ resolving conflict and disputes in the work team.

▪ being a role model for other team members.
▪ consulting and developing objectives with the work team.

▪ developing risk management approaches.
▪ developing techniques to address faults and inefficiencies.

Initiative and enterprise
▪ identifying and developing opportunities for improved work practices.

Planning and organising
▪ monitoring and adjusting operational performance by producing short-term plans, planning and acquiring resources and reporting on performance.
▪ preparing work plans and budgets.

▪ actively seeking feedback on own performance from clients and colleagues.
▪ prioritising tasks.

▪ coaching and mentoring colleagues and team members to support the introduction of change.

▪ using business technology such as computer programs and telecommunications to collect and manage information.

What are your views?

▪ Which important skills need to be added to this list?
▪ What has been your experience of gaining skills as a supervisor, manager or leader?
▪ At your workplace, what skills do you think are most needed now for the supervisors and managers you work with?


Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash