This week I am sharing tips on becoming a STAR supervisor — for more on that, see Monday’s dot and Tuesday’s dot on S = STARTING. Today focuses on the “T” — TIME, and how good supervision requires a commitment of time. 

The time you spend on supervision pays dividends in the long term as it builds capacity in your staff. I try to spend time both on developing the person as well as helping them improve in their job responsibilities. The two are different, and you need to be intentional about addressing both aspects of your supervision and coaching.

The cornerstone of time I spend with my staff happens in weekly one-to-one meetings. Information sharing and becoming aware of a problem can happen in a doorway conversation, but for true development I believe you need to have a regular time on the calendar. In these meetings you can discuss rationale, aspirations, background, context and really talk through things. Much learning and understanding takes place in this setting — for both the supervisor and employee. 

I also believe what Ram Charan and Larry Bossily wrote in their book Execution: that informality breeds candor. I try to see my employees in different settings to gain the trust that comes with time spent together. In the past, I have taught a class, helped staff with class assignments, gone on walks, been in a bowling league with colleagues, had every sort of meal and participated in outside social events to spend some informal time with staff. I also use these blogs to communicate lessons and messages in an indirect way. 

In addition to spending time with direct reports, I am intentional about spending time with middle managers and others in my division who do not directly report to me. I think it is important to involve people from all levels on committees and in meetings about tough topics so that they gain understanding and learn the “why” behind decisions.

I also take the time to learn about individuals and tailor rewards to them see dot #4. Sometimes this involves material goods, but often the investment of time is more meaningful. I have helped staff members learn how to write articles for publication, taught mini-classes on big picture topics, reviewed proposals and offered my involvement in ways that were most helpful to them.

There are no shortcuts to truly developing your staff, but I believe the time you invest is your most important job. It also takes time to truly reach A = ALIGNMENT, the topic for tomorrow…

beth triplett

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