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If you are looking to become a more effective supervisor, you should begin by analyzing your weak areas. You may already know what these are or you may be able to determine them after a bit of reflection. It may, however, require someone else’s insight to enlighten you. Being open to constructive criticism, from others or from yourself, is essential to your goal.
Recognizing one weakness can often lead to recognition of another. For example, perhaps you are too authoritarian with your crew. Realizing this can also lead you to realize that this behavior actually lowers productivity. If you are committed to change, you may be able to work on several issues at once.
It is important to remember that supervising involves more than enforcing rules and pushing people to meet quotas. An effective supervisor is one who cares for her staff. You do not necessarily have to create personal relationships that involve activities outside of work. You do, however, need to make your staff members feel as if they can approach you on the job when they have problems or concerns.
If you are not approachable, a number of things may happen that can reflect badly upon you. Your crew may, for example, begin to bypass you and seek contact with senior members of management. This can cause the management team to wonder why your crew avoids you.
Being unapproachable also means that you may not be informed of looming problems. There are often issues that crew are aware of before others. If they have a supervisor whom they are not close to, crew members will often allow preventable problems to escalate. If you have a good relationship with your crew, they are likely to be more protective of you and act in your best interest. This will allow you to address problems before it is too late.
You still have to maintain a balance of authority. Developing relationships with your crew does not mean you can forget that there are jobs that need to be done, including yours. It can be difficult to maintain this balance, especially if you have been promoted from among the crew you now supervise. You must develop a strategy to exercise your authority without appearing as though you are redefined by the power you now have.
An effective supervisor is one who is constantly learning. If you think that you know everything, you are likely to find yourself with recurring problems. You have to be willing to accept information and suggestions from those above you and below you. You also have to be able to make wise decisions. Other people can provide information, but there are likely to be instances where you will have to make the final decision.
To be an effective supervisor, you must be a leader. A leader is someone who can not only set an example, but who can motivate others to follow that example. Focus on ways you can encourage your crew to do better and to have pride in what they do. People who feel good about their work and who feel appreciated for their efforts generally perform much better than those who don’t. If you can be a prompt of positive change, then you will feel like and appear to be an effective supervisor.
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