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11 Skills For a Supervisor To Go From Good to Great

11 Skills For a Supervisor To Go From Good to Great

The job of a supervisor is to manage employee and team performance, deliver results, promote best practices, and tackle challenges as they arise. For many, it’s unlike anything they have ever trained for or experienced before. Understandably, this can make the transition from doing the work (individual contributor) to leading the people doing the work feel like a real challenge. 

Fortunately, developing a robust set of supervisor skills can help team leaders navigate the transition more confidently and develop the qualities of a good supervisor immediately. We recommend supervisor training that prioritizes the development of these skills.


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11 SUpervisory Skills Needed To Be a Great Supervisor

11 Supervisor Skills (1)



In a supervisory role, there is heightened importance not only on what you communicate but how you do it. You need to be able to convey the right information using the right medium in such a way that motivates action, inspires change, and instills confidence. Without the skills, tools, and confidence to do so, you will find your leadership effectiveness quite limited. Fortunately, such things can be honed through a communication training program like Niagara Institute’s, Speaking as a Leader.



Communication is often touted as one of the most important skills for supervisors, and yet, listening goes unmentioned. Without strong listening skills though, supervisors may find themselves rushing to offer help, fix a situation, or offer their advice when what is actually needed is for them to simply listen. In order to avoid such a situation that can lead to a misunderstanding or alienate employees, supervisors should be intentional about seeking out communication training that supports the development of their listening skills.


Conflict Management

As a supervisor, you are not just going to be faced with conflicts that you are personally involved in but also with your employee's conflicts. Fortunately, having the skills to effectively resolve conflicts will help ensure those conflicts do not negatively impact the performance, productivity, engagement, and culture of the team for which you are directly responsible.



Supervisors who enjoy the work, have the desire to prove themselves, feel like “only they can do it,” or struggle to choose what to delegate and who may not delegate as much as they should. This is a common pitfall among supervisors and, if left unchecked, can undermine your ability to be a successful leader. As such, the best thing you can do is to seek out training, as well as enlist the support of a mentor or coach, to develop your delegation skills and build your confidence.


Coaching and Feedback

Employees today want more than just a yearly review; they crave in-the-moment coaching and immediately applicable constructive feedback. If you’re a supervisor who can provide them with exactly that, as well as have the difficult conversations when needed (rather than avoid them) and support their professional development, you’ll surely impress not only your employees but your leaders as well.


Change management

While supervisors may not be the ones creating a strategy or initiating a change initiative, they are responsible for overseeing its implementation, explaining the rationale to employees, getting their buy-in, overcoming reservations or objections, and maintaining momentum until the end goal is achieved. By investing in training, such as Niagara Insititute's Change Management program, you’ll learn the skills and be equipped with the tools to readily do so when change arises.


Planning and Organization

The ability to thoughtfully and strategically manage the resources, priorities, and time of those in your charge is a skill all supervisors must possess. With it, you are able to achieve your goals, mandates, and objectives. Of course, with priorities ever-changing and disruptions ever-arising, you must also be highly adaptable and agile.



As a supervisor, you are no longer just responsible for your actions at work; you are responsible for the actions of every employee you supervise. While this may seem like a lot of pressure, having the skills to hold others accountable can significantly help.


Teamwork and Collaboration

There are countless benefits associated with teamwork and collaboration in the workplace, including increased retention, productivity, performance, and engagement. Though for you to see these benefits, you need to have the skills to heighten teamwork and collaboration. Possessing these skills, you can effectively create psychological safety, clearly define roles, encourage informing sharing, and nurture positive team dynamics.



When you step into a supervisor role, you’re now the go-to person to solve issues and problems as they arise. It’s up to you to ensure your team can do their job and do it well. To ensure that remains possible, you will need problem-solving skills to identify and assess issues, gather information, think outside the box for innovative solutions, and get those involved on board with the solution. 


Relationship Building

Your ability to build strong, productive working relationships with your employees, peers, and leaders strongly influence your ability to meet your goals and objectives as a supervisor. You need the skills to build their trust, earn their respect, communicate honestly, and make them feel understood and valued. You will find it far easier to deliver constructive feedback, motivate others, resolve conflicts, initiate change, and provide coaching if you can do so.

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