Supervisors often obtain their positions by being promoted from within the same department. Frequently, they are promoted because they are highly-skilled workers who have exhibited in-depth knowledge of their individual positions. However, just because a person is capable of skillfully performing a particular task does not mean that he will also be capable of supervising others in the completion of the same duties. The work of supervising others involves far more than simply understanding the day-to-day activities involved in the work.



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According to the Free Management Library website, “supervision is the activity carried out by supervisors to oversee the productivity and progress of employees who report directly to the supervisors.” When promoting a worker into a supervisory position, it is important to conduct proper training to prepare her for the additional responsibilities involved in supervising others. When a worker is thrown into a supervisory position without proper training, productivity and progress can be negatively impacted.

Policies and Procedures

Thorough training on the basic policies and procedures that must be followed by those whom the supervisor will oversee is an essential element of the supervisor training process. Supervisors are often the liaisons between workers and management, and it is often the supervisor who ensures the policies and procedures created by managers are implemented at the functional level. No supervisor can be expected to ensure employees follow the organization’s policies and procedures if he does not fully understand them himself.

Basic Management Skills

Basic management skills include the ability to organize, manage time, delegate duties, solve problems and make decisions that help keep the business running smoothly. These are all vital skills for anyone who must supervise others on a regular basis. Supervisors must also learn to communicate effectively with workers to ensure there is no gap between the supervisor’s expectations and what workers believe is expected of them. Often, supervisors must learn to adapt their own communication styles to ensure that what they are saying is the same as what workers are hearing and comprehending. Supervisors can learn about their own styles and how best to interact with the various other personal styles through the use of a personality profile.

Performance Management

Performance management, as defined by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is “the systematic process by which an agency involves its employees, as individuals and members of a group, in improving organizational effectiveness in the accomplishment of agency mission and goals.” Performance management is an essential supervisory duty which involves more than just measuring current productivity levels. This is not a skill that most are born with. Supervisors must be trained in the proper management of performance before they can be expected to achieve and maintain organizational performance goals.