Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.  ~Jack Welch

Many managers and supervisors are promoted to leadership positions based on their “hard skills” or technical expertise. Yet, they haven’t had management training. The skills that got them promoted aren’t the ones they’ll need in managing people, especially the difficult ones. In order to be a successful leader (and not feel like a babysitter or referee), solid soft skills are essential in effectively supervising employees in the workplace. Incorporating the following skills will ensure that managers have all the abilities they need to meet any challenge.

Being Fair-Minded When Resolving Conflicts

If all the employees feel like they are treated fairly when a conflict arises then they will be less likely to complain. Being fair-minded means hearing everyone’s concerns, reviewing the information and then making a choice based on the facts. The final decision will be the best course of action for the company without favoritism towards anyone. This neutral approach will demonstrate how conflicts are reasonably resolved using a thoughtful manner.

Actively Listening to the Employee’s Concerns

If there’s one topic I frequently discuss in my seminars on how to supervise employees in the workplace, it’s active listening. One of the best ways to supervise employees is to actively listen to them. This means not just “hearing” the words that are spoken but also noticing their behavior when they are expressing their viewpoint. When someone feels like they are truly being heard they also feel they are valued as a person and what they are saying is important. Restating what has been said back to the employees you are supervising will create an atmosphere of understanding that will be appreciated.

Communicating Clear and Comprehensive Messages

When managers have to deliver bad news to their employees it must be a clear and comprehensive message. The last thing that a manager wants is confusion which will promote inaccurate information that spreads throughout an organization! Even if their employees don’t like changes coming from the corporate office, at least they’ll respect the manager who is willing to explain the situation. They also appreciate when their manager “goes to bat” for them by making it clear to everyone how they fully support their proposed initiatives.

Knowing How to Show Appreciation and Give Credit

When managers effectively supervise their employees they understand what will motivate them to produce the best results. If you only wanted one quick tip on how to supervise employees in the workplace, I’d say acknowledge their contributions by publicly or privately thanking them. If it is also possible to give the supervised employees a monetary incentive or other recognition–such as paid time off–this will encourage others to follow their example. Most of the time just giving employees the earned and deserved credit for their efforts will make them feel appreciated and valued.

By incorporating these people skills, supervising employees will become a pleasure rather than a burden. Most of  the time these supervised employees just want to know they are working on a level playing field, being understood, receiving information they need and are greatly appreciated for their hard work. When these techniques are implemented, supervised employees become more productive and will model these behaviors to others encouraging teamwork that gets results.


About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert, Motivational Speaker

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and motivational keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

If you would like more information on Colleen’s keynotes, breakout sessions and seminars on how to supervise employees in the workplace, please call (623)340-7690 in Portland, Oregon.