Image of a globe flanked by the text 'Resources for Recruitment and Retention, Support in the Workplace' and wrapped in a banner that says 'Plan It.'

Supervision Intervention Strategies

Recruitment and Retention Toolkit   Supervision Intervention Strategies   Common Qualities of Effective Supervisors [2.8.1]

Common Qualities of Effective Supervisors 2.8.1

As front-line managers, supervisors must motivate workers to achieve the overall objectives of their organization and communicate top management’s vision and policies to employees. Adalat Khan, who regularly provides training for supervisory staff, reports that the following are common qualities of effective supervisors:[1]

Know Their Jobs
. Effective supervisors possess thorough knowledge of their job. Supervisors will otherwise be unable to command the respect of those working under them.

Make Things Happen
. When others are intimidated or overwhelmed, effective supervisors are highly resourceful, finding innovative ways to draw upon both internal and external resources available to resolve problems and achieve goals.

Committed and Responsible
. Most employees admire supervisors who are committed to the organization’s vision, goals, and tasks, and take personal responsibility for carrying them out. Effective supervisors set a strong example for their staff members (e.g., arrives on time, actions and statements are consistent with the organization’s mission).

A Good Communicator
. Effective supervisors possess or acquire good communication skills that they regularly use in the workplace. Some of the duties that require excellent communication skills are as follows:  giving clear instructions, explaining the rationale for a task, overseeing task execution, and presenting complex ideas in simple terms.

Respectful and Courteous
.Polite and courteous treatment of workers is another trait of effective supervisors. Through treating everyone as worthy of respect and humane treatment, supervisors can achieve extraordinary results from their employees.
In the context of behavioral health services, treating employees with respect is particularly important because of the impact it may have on the way that staff members treat clients. People with mental illnesses and/or substance abuse disorders have often been stigmatized not only by society, but also by service providers in some instances. It is a supervisor’s duty to model respectful treatment of clients.

Spokesperson for the Workers
.Most of the time, the supervisor is the only person who can communicate the problems and ideas of the staff to middle and top management. Supervisors should also inform top management about high-performing employees, and make sure that employees get credit for their ideas.
Because the work of clinical staff is typically governed by a complex set of regulations, supervisors might have a hand in communicating employee concerns about these regulations to behavioral health authorities, licensing boards, or other entities.

Develop People
. Supervisors should train employees to perform their duties professionally and help them develop their full potential. This includes arranging for staff development and training, as well as looking for ways to provide staff with new challenges and opportunities to expand their skills.

Insist on Accountability
. No one is perfect, and becoming more successful on the job is a learning process. Effective supervisors hold their staff members accountable and review their progress so that they can set and meet goals for improvement.
For an article on effective supervisors and the qualities many of them share, see the article by L. DiAnne Borders.

More information on the role of supervisors in the behavioral health workplace can be found Here.

[1] Khan, A. (2007, August 8). Key qualities of ideal supervisor. Retrieved on August 2011.

Submit your Feedback

Upload or attach a document:

Go to Chapter: