Can you recall a bad supervisor you had once before? How did you feel going to work?  Was the bad supervisor on your ass for no reason at all. You kept thinking that one day when you become a supervisor, you will do things differently. At the same time, you may also remember the “great” supervisors you had and how they treated you. You enjoyed going to work.

Great supervisors are not born into the role; they are developed into the role.  Someone down the line took the time to develop the supervisor who in turn became a great supervisor for the organization. The following are some habits of great supervisors.

  1. They focus on strengths

I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review titled “What great Managers Do” which got me thinking about not only what great managers do but also what great supervisor great supervisors. My thinking is that great Managers become “great” because of great supervisors.    Great supervisors focus on the strengths of their people. Even though, the employee may have a balance of strengths and opportunities the great supervisors “leverage” the strengths for the benefit of the department. The supervisor will assist in improving the employee’s weakness however they focus on how to leverage the strengths of all the team members for the benefit of the group.


Here is also what the article mentioned:

What you need to know about each of your direct reports:

  • What are his or her strengths
  • What are the triggers that activate those strengths
  • What is his or her learning cycle?


  1. They get to know their people

These supervisors know their people. They rarely talk bad about their people and they are involved in their personal life. They make the connection on a personal level but always keep it professional.  They know many of details of the employee’s life and what they like and dislike.

  1. They Listen

The supervisors are very good listeners. They are good listeners by doing a couple of things. They stop what they are doing to focus on the person. They remove all distractions by either moving away from the area or in private. They summarize what they have heard before making any judgments or decisions. In the end, the employee feels as if they are being listened by the supervisor.

  1. They are fearless

The motto of all supervisors is “Make it happen”. These are individuals that do not take “no or can’t be done” lightly. They find a way to ensure things get done, problems are solved, and goals are met. They are the fearless people who push the needle. The great supervisor knows how to push the needle for the right reasons. The have enough personal courage to fight for what will benefit the organization as a whole regardless of the barriers.

  1. They lead by example

No supervisor can perform his/her fundamental duty if they do not lead by example.  “They first lead with their eyes”.  What this means is that perception is reality. What employees see is the actions of the supervisor not what he or she says. These supervisors know how to perform because they have done the job in the past.


What do you think are good habits of great supervisors?

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