5 Ways to Improve Supervisory Skills


The job of a frontline supervisor is to manage employees in order to reach a company’s goals, and in some situations, to meet customer expectations. The main challenge of this job is that it has to bridge the gap between the senior management and the employees, and to do this, a supervisor requires a special set of skills. Not everybody has the native skills, or the experience to do this. In most organizations, supervisors are former employees who were very good at their jobs, but past performances don’t necessarily equal a high level of performance on a supervising position. Nonetheless, there are ways of improving supervisory skills, so if you have supervisors who don’t deliver on your company’s goals, we have some excellent suggestions for you.

Asses the basic supervisory skills

Before you invest in training programs or other performance tools, you need to evaluate your supervisors and see how well they rank in the five critical skills required for this job: managing people, organizing the workflow, training the staff, managing relations and managing performance. Ideally, your supervisors should already have some native leadership and communication skills to handle the challenges of this position. If they don’t, you might need to do some personal changes, and find people who are more qualified for this type of job.

Make immediate improvements with a quick training

Improving supervisory skills will take a long time, but there are some ways in which you can make immediate improvements. We personally recommend the Supervisory Skills Questionnaire – Trainer’s Bundle, a one-day supervisory skills training course that features a comprehensive participant guide, as well as a fun hands-on practice game. This program can be used to train 3 teams of 5, 6 or even 7 members at the same time. It features instructions, forms, tests, audio and video CDs and numerous other tools. It is a quick way to assess the performance of your frontline managers and to make some fast performance improvements.

Make a long-term plan

Once you have assessed the situation, and you made some quick fixes, it is time to make a long-term plan for a tangible performance growth. You will need a senior manager to commit to this performance improvement plan, not only with a good strategy, but also with daily monitoring and evaluation meetings. For an efficient strategy, you must divide the time of your supervisors in specific daily tasks. Obviously enough, supervisors would have to check their daily tasks and report if and why they are unable to perform certain tasks. It is important for your supervisors to understand that this is not a test and that their job is not on the line. Instead, you must make them see that this is your way of showing that you want to create the best conditions for them to reach their full potential.

Keep your supervisors informed

An effective communication with your supervisors is essential for the success of your organization. They must always be informed of company goals and senior management expectations. Make sure your supervisors participate in important meetings and they understand what tasks they must complete, how they must complete their tasks, and within what time frame. It is also essential to provide your supervisors with constant feedback, but also take notes of their own feedback. Your supervisors are your employees’ main source of information, and as such, they need to be connected with the ongoing company developments.

Provide proper motivation and inspiration

It is your supervisors’ job to motivate and inspire their teams, but in order to do this, they must also be properly motivated and inspired. Each individual is motivated in different ways, so you must listen to your supervisors and learn what motivates and inspires them. Some might need financial incentives, others might seek professional growth which can come from trainings or new responsibilities. Moreover, always remember that your supervisors must have enough time to actively supervise their trainers, so if they are overwhelmed with special projects or administrative tasks, encourage them to delegate some of their work, so that they can focus on what really matters, which is active supervision.