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The traits of a great supervisor May 17, 2018

The traits of a great supervisor

The traits of a great supervisor

Bad management is the single biggest reason for disengagement and low performance in an organisation.  Did you know half of the employees that quit their jobs quit because of flaws in management?

While a great supervisor definitely has the technical skills for the job, they will need the following additional skills so that they can be an effective supervisor as well.

Great communication skills:

As a supervisor one must communicate clearly and correctly to avoid misunderstandings and frustrations. When receiving information from a subordinate, they should be sure to receive it correctly – There is no harm in asking again if necessary.

Emotional Intelligence:

An effective supervisor is one who offers leadership, resolves conflicts and provides an ear for their team. This is a person who can recognise their own emotion in a situation, recognise the emotions of others, is empathetic and has top-notch social skills. Emotional intelligence is a critical skill in modern day management where teams are diverse and there is a need for work-life balance.

Be fair:

Being fair to your team members means valuing each of their contributions, giving each of them the attention that they need, and giving credit where credit is due. It also means taking due responsibility for work on your side, and role modelling the behaviour that you expect from your team. After all, you can’t expect them to be careful with the company’s money if you’re seen to be frittering away the budget on luxurious business trips or entertaining clients.


If you don't know how to delegate projects and tasks, your role as a supervisor will be a lot more difficult. Don't be afraid to ask your employees to help complete a task. You might think it's easier to do everything yourself, but this will add more time to your already busy schedule, and you won' be allowing your employees to do what they were hired to do.

A coacher/mentor:

Share your experience. A good supervisor shares their wisdom, knowledge and experience with the employees. They help them perform better. This also strengthens the bond and the trust between them.

Flexibility when Possible:

No single approach to management works in every situation. Rather, a good supervisor chooses tactics based on the situation. For example, as a deadline nears, you might adopt a hardline approach to ensure the work gets done. But your employees can’t operate at full-speed continuously, so adopt a more relaxed approach during downtime between projects. This gives employees time to recover their strength.

Focus on the employees growth:

As a supervisor, you are not just responsible for making sure that the work gets done but also for helping each individual reach their full potential by getting the feedback and coaching they need, learning new skills, and finding the right assignment in which to shine. This also requires focusing on your own performance so be sure to ask for feedback also from them and keep growing as a supervisor by attending training sessions and getting coaching yourself.


To be an effective manager, you need to be confident in your abilities, experience, and decisions. This doesn’t mean you have to be arrogant or feel that you’re better than your employees. But you’re in a management role for a reason, so be proud and be an inspiration to your team.

Be approachable

The employees should not hesitate in approaching the supervisor with their concerns and problems. An efficient supervisor will make sure that there is enough trust and openness between them and the employees for the latter to come to them with their grievances.

Positive Attitude:

Supervisors who come to work with a positive attitude make the office environment a great place to be. They use this attitude when solving problems, so the issues don't loom as large as they might. And positive attitudes are contagious. People tend to take on the attitude of their environment, and being positive is a good one to assume.

Show no favoritism:

It is human nature to have a favorite, to prefer one person or thing to another. However, this does not augur well with your teammates when you are a supervisor. It divides your team and diminishes your authority. Even if you have a favorite, try to stay neutral. Solve disputes in a neutral way and provide leadership. When your team members trust you to make neutral and well-informed decisions, they will trust you and your decisions.

Respect for Employees:

If you don't respect your employees, there will definitely be tension in your workplace. Be conscious of their time and abilities, be able to listen and communicate with them, and be a resource of knowledge and guidance.

Criticize constructively

When mistakes happen a good supervisor tries and understands the reasons behind the mishap. They criticize or assess the employee in proportion to the mistake. And it is always better to not to scream or scold in front of the others. Give constructive feedback; show them the right way to do things.

Looking for a supervisory skills course? Read more about the supervisor courses we offer and book onto our supervisor training.

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