Effective workplace supervision is a developmental practice.  It is no longer any tick-box activity or policing.  Supervision that merely checks off competencies does little for the development of the individual. Supervision offers so much more than that; it is a generative conversation of challenge, support, insight and deep understanding. When set up well using the 7 Success Strategies when Supervising, a staff member can bring their work to a supervisor with confidence, learn, share concerns, and explore new insights with a non-judgmental and trusted professional.

Today’s fast-paced and changing business environments are taking leaders and their teams into uncharted waters. Leaders work with individuals and teams who are at different times tired, inspired, exhausted, motivated, confused, isolated and often stressed.

Top characteristics of successful strategies when supervising

They can:

  • Recognize, express and cope with feelings and emotions of self and others
  • Deal effectively with the demands and pressures of the supervisor’s/leader’s role
  • React proactively by building relationships and leading by example
  • Focus on understanding others before seeking to be understood
  • Pose incisive questions and challenges when deemed necessary
  • Allow self and others time and space for reflective practice
  • Support others to set and achieve goals that benefit both the team and the individual
  • Motivate self and encourage others to greater achievement
  • Maintain a positive mindset in times of change and challenging situations
  • To be comfortable in a place of not knowing and encourage emergent knowledge

Daniel Goleman’s book on emotional intelligence states that EI is one of the most important factors in getting people to “do their jobs more effectively” (Goleman 1995). It is well known that people tend to leave because of poor managers and stay where they feel valued and supported.  This is especially true when supervising others in the workplace and supporting them to greater self-awareness and understanding.

If, as supervisors, you are helping those who support others to do their jobs effectively, you need to focus on enabling them to:

  • Tolerate stress, control impulses and practice positive self-regard
  • To build social responsibility, optimism and happiness
  • Build on strengths and challenge areas for development

What are the seven success strategies when supervising at work?

  1. Focus on the contracting at the start of each session: ‘What does your staff member wish to explore?’; ‘What do they need from the session and you as their supervisor?’ and at the end ‘What have they learnt?’
  2. Openly share your non-judgmental approach to supervision so that your staff know what to expect from working with you.
  3. Focus on creating a safe and uncluttered space for the individual so they are free to do their best thinking.
  4. Role model a mindful uncluttered, and attentive attitude
  5. Remember that less can be more; listen deeply, breathe slowly and do not get in the way of the individual’s best thinking
  6. Explore resources and creative ways like the use of metaphors or objects to open up thinking. (See ‘Coaching Supervision at its BEST’ for ideas)
  7. Remember that the buck for assuring safe and ethical practice in supervision stops with you. Use your authority wisely.

When supervising, the role of a leader is to nurture potential and build confidence that is often locked inside due to work pressures and lack of clear thinking time.  When supervising, the seven success strategies can really support their progress and help the way they manage their people.

Image courtesy of Depositphotos.com

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Experienced Professional ICF Executive Coach & CSA Dip Supervisor
Specialising in Cross-Cultural Understanding, Advanced Communication and Working with International teams
‘Coaching Skills for Leaders’ and ‘Coaching Supervision at its BEST’ Both ILM validated

Full Spectrum Supervision – Edna Murdoch & Jackie Arnold 2013

AWARDS: Executive Coaching
ECI & Exelerate