Top Tips for Supervisors

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The role of a supervisor has changed markedly over time. Today’s supervisor faces a dynamic and volatile business landscape, necessitating a change in tactics and strategy. The modern supervisor is no longer just overseeing the day-to-day operations of their team members; they must help them adapt to a changing workplace while delivering on company goals.

It’s not easy, especially if you’re a new supervisor. You have to start managing a team, sometimes composed of your former colleagues; you must also manage upwards with management. Faced with these challenges, how do you become a good supervisor?

This article will provide you with valuable tips, but if after reading it you decide that you want to keep exploring the topic, have a look at our Supervisor training courses and learn with the help of experienced trainers.

What Being A Good Supervisor Means

A good supervisor is someone who can effectively manage people, solve problems, and communicate effectively. They must also be familiar with their company’s policies and procedures. Above all, they must ensure their team meets its goal.

Good supervisors are an asset to any workplace or team. They are the spark behind a team’s output, ensuring the team is motivated, productive, and engaged.

Besides developing leadership skills in team members, good supervisors must also coach and mentor on supervisory skills to start grooming the next generation of leaders.

However, the role of a good supervisor extends beyond administrative people management. Good supervisors

  • set clear goals and expectations. Clear expectations help team members understand what is expected of them and how they can contribute to the team’s success.
  • create a positive work environment. It’s your duty as a supervisor to help team members feel valued and appreciated. It helps them do their best work.
  • resolve conflicts. They use their leadership tactics in mediating disagreements to keep their team working together effectively.
  • provide and are open to feedback. They offer feedback to team members and are willing to listen to feedback from them to improve their leadership skills.
  • are fair and consistent. Good supervisors treat all team members fairly and consistently, regardless of their past work relationships. This helps build trust and respect.
  • delegate tasks. They deploy their supervisor skills to effectively and efficiently allocate tasks to team members. They also know what not to delegate. Like conductors in an orchestra, they ensure the team moves in sync.

To boost your performance in your new supervisory position, we’ve compiled a list of our top supervisor tips below. They are also applicable as you climb in the workplace in leadership positions.

Supervisor Tip 1: Get To Know Your People

Given your primary role as a new supervisor is managing people, you must get to know your team members better. It’s the most important thing you can do as a supervisor.

Knowing your people is not just knowing their names and what they do at the workplace daily. It’s understanding their strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and goals.

For example, while you can motivate some team members with public recognition, others require more tangible benefits.

Only when you know your team can you start to build trust and rapport.

There are several ways to get to know your team members:

  • One-on-one meetings. This is probably the best way to get to know your team members. You can ask them about their work, interests, and goals during these meetings. You can also provide constructive feedback while getting some on your leadership and how you can improve.
  • Team-building activities. Team-building activities are a great way to get to know your team members in a more informal setting.  They also help you learn more about your team members’ personalities.
  • Casual conversations. Don’t underestimate the power of casual conversations. Just chatting with your team members in the hallway or at the coffee machine can help you get to know them better.
  • Observe their work. Pay attention to how your team members work. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are they passionate about? What are their goals?
  • Ask questions. Be curious about your team members. Ask them questions about their lives, their work, and their goals. The more you ask, the more you’ll learn.

Getting to know your team members is a learning process that takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. When you know your people, you can build a more motivated, productive, and successful team.

Supervisor Tip 2: Master The Art Of Effective Communication

Communication is the bedrock of any successful relationship, and it’s no different in the workplace. As a supervisor, your ability to communicate effectively with your team members defines their success and yours.

Being a good communicator means being clear and concise in your verbal and written communication. It also means being able to listen effectively.

Effective communication is a skill any new supervisor can easily pick up.

First, pay attention to your own communication style. Are you clear and concise? Do you listen effectively? Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can start to improve.

Second, practise your communication skills. The more you practise, the better you’ll become at communicating effectively. You can practise by giving presentations, leading meetings, or simply chatting with your team members.

Finally, be open to feedback. Ask your team for feedback on your communication style. They can help you identify areas where you can improve.

Communication is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. As a supervisor, you must communicate effectively for your team to succeed.

To level up your communication skills:

  1. Be clear and concise. When communicating with your team members, get to the point quickly and clearly. Avoid jargon and technical terms that your team may not understand.
  2. Be a good listener. Listen actively when your team members speak and ask questions to clarify anything you don’t understand.
  3. Be positive and encouraging. Your team members are more likely to be receptive to your communication if you’re positive and encouraging.
  4. Be respectful. Even if you disagree with your team members, respect their opinions.
Several people in a circle putting their hands together toward the centre.
Source: Pexels

Supervisor Tip 3: Provide Clear Expectations and Feedback

Set clear expectations for your team members regarding their roles, responsibilities, and performance standards. Ambiguity can lead to confusion and demotivation.

Provide constructive feedback regularly to acknowledge their strengths and help them improve in areas that need development. The feedback must be specific, descriptive, actionable, timely, and respectful. Here’s an example:

  • Specific: ‘I noticed that you missed your deadline for the presentation yesterday.’
  • Descriptive: ‘This caused the team to have to scramble to put together the presentation, and we ended up delivering it late.’
  • Actionable: ‘In the future, I would like you to start working on presentations earlier so that you have more time to prepare and avoid missing deadlines.’
  • Timely: ‘I’m giving you this feedback now so you have time to make changes before your next presentation.’
  • Respectful: ‘I know you’re capable of doing great work, and I’m confident that you’ll be able to improve your presentation skills.’

Lastly, conduct performance evaluations and one-on-one meetings to discuss progress and identify any hurdles they might be facing.

Giving constructive feedback is challenging in any leadership position, more so for new supervisors. It’s a skill you have to keep working on.

Supervisor Tip 4: Empower And Delegate

Micromanagement is a common problem in many workplaces. It can stifle creativity, demotivate employees, and lead to high turnover. However, there’s a better tool in your arsenal of leadership tactics: delegate tasks to your team members and empower them.

When you empower your team, you give them the autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of their work. This shows that you trust their skills and believe in their ability to succeed. Empowering your team can lead to:

  • Increased productivity: Employees who feel empowered tend to be more motivated and engaged in their work. This can lead to increased productivity and output.
  • Improved decision-making: When employees can make decisions, they learn to think critically and solve problems independently. This can lead to improved decision-making across the organisation.
  • Greater creativity: Employees who feel empowered are more likely to be creative and innovative. Innovation leads to novel ideas and solutions that can benefit the organisation.

When you delegate tasks, you are giving your team members the opportunity to learn new skills and take on new challenges. It helps them develop their careers and grow within the organisation. And it’s also an important time management technique that will help you be more productive.

Delegation also frees your time as a supervisor to focus on more strategic tasks and build relationships with key stakeholders.


Whether you’re a new supervisor or seasoned in management techniques, being a good communicator, delegating effectively, understanding your team, and providing constructive feedback will remain valuable soft skills in the workplace.

Being a successful supervisor requires more than just managerial skills. It’s about building strong relationships, inspiring trust, and guiding your team toward excellence. These supervisor tips can help you lead your team to greater heights and foster an environment of success and fulfilment.

About Ben Richardson

Ben is a director of Acuity Training which he has been running for over 10 years.

He is a Natural Sciences graduate from the University of Cambridge and a qualified accountant with the ICAEW.

He previously worked as a venture capitalist and banker and so had extensive experience with Excel from building financial models before moving to learn SQL, Microsoft Power BI and other technologies more recently.