Supervisory positions carry a high level of responsibility that benefits from strong interpersonal skills. The personal qualities come naturally to certain people, making them ideal candidates for such positions. Other individuals need to work to develop those skills to excel in management jobs. Even those with interpersonal strengths benefit from practicing and improving these skills.
A supervisor oversees the way a work shift runs. She needs the ability to communicate directions and suggestions to the people she supervises. Her speech should be easy to understand so other staff members can understand her without difficulty. She also needs the ability to express her thoughts verbally in terms her staff can comprehend. This is sometimes difficult for supervisors with strong technical skills who manage people with significantly less knowledge in the field. Simplifying complex information and explaining it is often a challenge. Listening also plays a significant role in the communication process. The supervisor needs to regularly listen to her staff members to recognize and address potential problems.
Conflict arises in most work environments at some point. Whether it's a minor disagreement or a major blow-up, a supervisor needs the skills to diffuse the situation and find a satisfactory resolution. In some situations, conflict leads to new ideas, collaboration and growth within the company, making it a positive if uncomfortable situation initially. A supervisor needs to learn to use the conflict as a way to create positive change without letting a situation get out of control.
Empathy refers to understanding how another person feels in a particular situation. As a supervisor, you may enforce policies or decisions that can upset employees. An empathetic supervisor is able to ascertain an employee's feelings about a particular matter and deal with them. Empathy aids the communication process by helping you figure out how to best approach and talk with an employee based on the person's emotional state. Empathy also enables you to better understand other staff members' actions and needs in the workplace.
Assertiveness allows a supervisor to exercise firm leadership of the shift and staff he is in charge of. A supervisor without a level of assertiveness is more likely to lose control of staff members or back down in a conflict situation. The assertive supervisor is able to stick to his decisions and enforce rules set by the company.