This week I am sharing tips on becoming a STAR supervisor — for more on that, see Monday’s dotTuesday’s dot on S = STARTING and Wednesday’s dot on T = TIME. Today focuses on the “A” — ALIGNMENT, and how good supervision occurs when you create philosophical alignment to get the results you want without micromanaging.

My goal has always been to “infuse me” into my staff; ideally having them do what I would do without the need for me to be there. In order for this to occur, I invest considerable time to ensure that we are both on the same page about their priorities and how the work is to be done. Sometimes I do this informally, but on other occasions, I utilize the alignment exercise to make sure we are clear. I often ask my staff whether they could keep two of themselves busy if we were proficient in cloning. Invariably the answer is yes. The alignment exercise helps ensure that the half of the job the one person is doing is the same half that I would want done!

However you do it, I think it is essential to spell out expectations and be specific about what is acceptable behavior. Mike Matheny, now manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, clearly spelled out his expectations in a letter to parents when he was coaching Little League. Other examples are how expectations were outlined for student employees or for the university receptionist.

It becomes important to align your expectations so that you can hold staff accountable for following them. Making frequent small corrections helps ensure that you remain in alignment. A method of achieving this is described in Danny Meyer’s salt shaker analogy

Another part of your job as supervisor is to help your staff prioritize their time and to give them permission to say no to things. Aligning their time with what is important gives focus to them and to you. “As a leader, we are not responsible for the results,” says author Simon Sinek. “As a leader, we are responsible for the people who are responsible for the results.”

If you exercise clarity in the beginning of the process and then provide direct feedback when someone is out of alignment, I believe you will lead a great team and achieve great results. I close with a quote from Marcus Buckingham’s The One Thing You Need to Know:

Effective leaders don’t have to be charming or brilliant
What they must be is clear.
CLARITY is the essence of great leadership.
Show us who we should seek to serve,
Show us where our core strength lays,
Show us which score we should focus on
And which actions we must take,
And we will reward you by working our hearts out
To make our better future come true.

To be a STAR supervisor, provide that clear alignment for your staff then read tomorrow how to deploy R = RESOURCES to achieve results.

beth triplett

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