Five Ways to be an Excellent Supervisor


Regardless of the situation, people love to lead. Some are natural, and others are forced into it. Whatever the case, people step into leadership roles. It can be very rewarding for one’s self. Especially in the work place.

Being a supervisor in a company is a coveted position. If people want to progress in their career, then becoming a supervisor should be on that list. However, obtaining supervisor status
and being good at it are two different things.

I’ve had several supervisors in my short workforce career. My prior job (I really need to write about that place) saw me go through approximately seven supervisors? That’s a lot of people, personalities, and management styles. Some of us clicked. Some of us didn’t. My last job was not a bed of roses. Too many of my higher ups treated it like a game of Monopoly and I was the property. Needless to say, my excitement, and my “leaders” (I use that word very loosely) for work waned. Charlie Murphy would have been proud of me though. I gave plenty of faces.

Ahhh.. Charlie Murphy face. It works in so many situations.

Anyway, I could drone on and on about my horrible work experiences, but I shan’t. I can say that having these experiences, and being a lead of my own team, shaped ideas of what it takes to be an excellent supervisor.

So, here we go supervisors. Here are five ways to be a better supervisor.

Learn How to Communicate

This is first and foremost. Great communication with your employee is critical to the work relationship. As communication goes, sometimes we think we are relaying a message clearly and the recipient of said message is lost in the woods. Ask questions to make sure you are getting your point across. I once had a supervisor who used to ask “Does that make sense?” I was initially offended until I realized she was asking to make sure she was communicating properly. Now, I use this trick when talking to people in general. It’s a great way to open up for feedback on the subject. Of course, this will have to be used in the right situations to be effective.

There are also those conversations that are hard. Tough information has to be passed along. Maybe it’s a performance review, constructive feedback, a reprimand, or something else that will garner a negative reaction. These conversations have the potential to blow. Speaking from experience, being pulled into the office without warning for a “discussion” automatically puts some employees on defense. To boot, if you’re not used to these conversations, then you will probably be uncomfortable. Addressing the situation in a professional manner, and not putting your personal feelings in the communication, makes a hard conversation a bit easier.

Establish Rapport

This goes a long way in getting production out of your employees. If I feel like my supervisor cares about me and my career, then I’m willing to go the extra mile for them. I want to succeed at my job in the first place. Having a supervisor I know has my back  makes me feel even more comfortable in my position. It pushes me to succeed. So, ask about your employee’s kids, families, interests, hobbies, etc. You don’t have to be best friends with them, and boundaries should be set in place. After all, this is the work place, not a friends group. However, even something as simple as “good morning” is noticed, and appreciated by your employees. It can turn someone’s whole mood around.

Be a Positive Leader

Your attitude will determine your team’s attitude. It’s that simple. If you are negative, then your team will be negative. If you are a positive person, then your team will be positive. It’s all about the environment you create. You have control. Circumstances obviously aren’t always that easy. However, you have the power to change the atmosphere. The thing about being positive is that it has to be genuine.A team can see straight through a fake supervisor. The one who yells “GO TEAM!!”, but it’s SUPER forced. One of my old supervisors used to be like that. She tried to provide positive motivation, but it was so forced (almost flighty/eccentric) that it was completely unbelievable. Be genuine in your positivism.

Understand How to Develop Your Employees

Employee development is critical to a supervisor’s success on the job. This is what makes a supervisor. The ability to develop talent and see them progress is crucial. This requires you to understand each person’s strengths and weaknesses. You must know how to enhance the strengths, and strengthen the weaknesses. This will be different for every employee which, in turn, can be difficult.

Maybe you have a person who is a smart, and a leader. They get bored easily because they catch on to the process quickly. How do you keep them motivated to work while making sure they don’t become complacent in knowing their job? Delegate. Keep them busy with small special projects. Of course, they should prove themselves worthy of doing such. Intellect alone does not guarantee special chances. However, give them a chance to prove themselves. It’s the employee’s job to deliver.

Make Your Expectations Clear in the Beginning

As a person that has had several supervisors, I can comfortably say several of them failed to tell me their team expectations. I did not find out said expectations until I had crossed an unknown line. I was then irritated because I had been reprimanded about something I didn’t know. That effectively broke the good rapport I had with my supervisor. If they had made their expectations clear upfront, then that would increase the chances I wouldn’t cross said boundary.

One particular supervisor I had sent an email out to the team a couple of days after he inherited it. I didn’t agree with some of it. Especially alluding to being quiet. I’m a talker. What can I say? Nonetheless, I knew what he expected of my talkative nature. Now, I don’t plan on changing who I am for him. Ever. But, I could make some concessions to make my work place environment a little more peaceful. Thus, he did the right thing by telling me what he expected.


Being a supervisor is tough. You’re the middle man between a manager and your employee. You have power, but it’s limited. You are scrutinized for decisions you didn’t even make. You have to convince your employees of the company’s plan even when you think it’s stupid. Yes, being a supervisor is tough. However, you can do it.

You can be an excellent supervisor.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Eddie Gilliam says:

    I support you in the blog. It’s not easy being a supervisor and manager. During my 25 years in the service. I used the tools you posted in the blog. I was blessed to be a successful supervisor and manager with God’s help. As a supervisor and manager you had to deal with many different types of people. I treated all people with respect and no favorites. I lead by example. I involved my staff on discuss, let them know what my expertat ions were.

    Liked by 1 person

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