A shift supervisor must be able to communicate effectively, manage and lead people, be accountable, and continually improve the workers they lead. To do this, they must be knowledgeable both in general leadership skills and the business practices of the company for which they work. It is also important that they have an understanding of the skills and jobs that those they lead perform.


To be accountable for their actions, shift supervisors must know the full scope of what their job entails. This includes having the required mechanical skills to perform that job. They must know what is fully expected of them in order to meet or exceed those standards. They must display fair and consistent behavior, including sticking to a uniform set of rules or procedures. They must be committed to their job and be able to make difficult decisions under stress, pressure, or in emergency situations. Shift supervisors must also be able to take full accountability for all their actions at all times.

People Skills

Shift supervisors must also display consistent and strong people skills. Among the top of these qualities include teamwork, effective communication (written and oral), a sense of humor, respect for themselves and those under them. They must be able to use positive influence and political effectiveness to motivate those they lead.


A leader effectively delegates appropriate tasks and follows through. A shift supervisor who displays appropriate leadership skills is active, and leads by example. Shift supervisors use their position to enhance and improve employee performance through coaching, discipline, planning, employee development, evaluations, positive reinforcement and empowerment of those they lead.


A shift supervisor also needs to display appropriate management skills. These include time management, records management, budgeting, safety responsibilities, organizational skills, managing conflict, and keeping up to date on current business policies. He needs to effectively manage the given position with modern skills required for the job. These include computer skills, emergency procedures, shift scheduling, and operations management. Though many companies may not require it, a good shift leader is able to step in and take up the slack in the instance of missing or late employees, increased production, or other unforeseen tasks.