Supervision – An Outside the Box Perspective

Here is a comment from a participant who completed my two day Supervising Service Excellence class on December 5th

What I really appreciated about this class and your approach is that you expanded the role of supervisor and took it outside the box (that defines a supervisor).
Here’s how I understood her observation.
When I teach supervisors I think it is essential that they “see” their role through a longer lens, which allows them to see the role from outside rather than inside the box that defines the traditional supervisor.
By definition supervision is made up of two words, super and vision, super translates as “above or over” and vision means to “see.” So does that mean that supervisors are to “oversee” members of their team? Not in today’s workplace. It is accurate to say that few employees anywhere like to have someone looking over their shoulder – being micro managed.
Spending time micromanaging employees leads to the employee feeling they aren’t trusted by the supervisor, or perhaps that the supervisor believes I can do it better or if I want something done right I’ll do it myself. What ever the motive, the supervisor ends up getting less of what they must have from every employee, that being increased productivity, confidence and competence. If this behaviour continues then the supervisors end up with employees who wait to be told, ones who don’t take initiative, ones who don’t contribute their discretionary effort and ones work hard enough to not get fired.
What is a competent employee? Our definition of a competent employee is as follows:
  1. They can do the job, task or activity – based on results.
  2. The results achieved meet a predetermined standard of excellence
  3. They do the above without supervision, consistently..(Supervisors need to develop and nurture competence in others)
The supervisor can then focus on more important aspects of supervision that will help the team deliver consistent high quality service and results to co-workers and customers alike. Those other aspects include providing clear focus and direction, recognizing and appreciating contributions, providing timely and direct, helpful and supportive feedback on performance
The outside the box view of supervisors has little to do with overseeing employees work. Instead, I believe that the purpose of a supervisor is to ensure that every employee is successful by any measure.
Dennis Hilton

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