In Fundamentals of Supervision, we begin by exploring our expectations of a supervisor. Participants use words and pictures to illustrate the characteristics exhibited by supervisors they believe to be effective. People come up with descriptions like strong listener, fair, friendly, good decision-maker, composed under fire, a heart for employees, willing to lend a hand, supportive, coach, mentor, and guide. Then we turn our attention to how our employees view us. Are we all of those things? Do we exhibit integrity? Are we honest, knowledgeable and compassionate? Can we be counted upon to take the high road every single time? The room gets quiet for a moment while we consider our own behavior and recognize the importance of setting the example.
Later, we discuss how we can build trust with our direct reports. Participants share stories of how they have witnessed extraordinary courage, care and composure while working for former and present supervisors. The anecdotes are inspiring and illustrate why people are willing to follow leaders who don't just talk about character, but demonstrate it in the way they treat others. It's amazing to hear the impact supervisors have had on employees. We see people contemplating the fact that being responsible for the work of others is a duty taken seriously. Later, we get into the nuts and bolts of setting goals, delegating and motivating. But, I believe the greatest impact occurs when we stop to consider the influence we have as supervisors.