One of my most requested workshops is Becoming a STAR Supervisor, and this week I will share some of the highlights via this blog. I believe strongly that the most important thing we do is supervise staff, even though we sometimes lose focus of that and concentrate on “our work” instead. But if you have staff, being a STAR supervisor is your job, and it is an area where everyone can always learn and improve.

Supervision is a summary of skills, including hiring, training, coaching, evaluating, truth-telling, visioning, goal setting, saying no, holding people accountable, compassion, humor, advocacy and tough love. The mix of challenge and support that you provide your staff will not only influence their personal growth and professional development, but it will also, to a large measure, determine the performance of your unit.

I think people don’t supervise well because they claim to be too busy, don’t have the confidence or skills, want people to like them, think things will be fine on their own, or have the misguided notion that if you give power away, you won’t have any for yourself. Many people are promoted into supervisory roles with no previous experience in this area and don’t know how to obtain it except by trial and error.

I will synthesize four key aspects of supervision and discuss in more detail each day this week, but to be a STAR supervisor, I recommend concentrating your efforts in these areas:
S: START — start supervising beginning with the hiring process
T: TIME — commit the time it takes to supervise well
A: ALIGNMENT — align your staff and your expectations
R: RESOURCES — deploy resources to build capacity

In a Harvard Business Review article* entitled Creating the Best Workplace on Earth, authors Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones found that people did not cite great pay or benefits when describing their ideal job. What people were looking for was a place where: you can be yourself, you’re told what’s really going on, your strengths are magnified, the company stands for something meaningful, your daily work is rewarding and stupid rules don’t exist. As a supervisor, you have a large amount of control to create this pocket of greatness with your staff. Pick up some tips this week on how to do that…

— beth triplett

*Source: Creating the Best Workplace on Earth by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones, Harvard Business Review, May, 2013

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