Challenges of Supervising People



In order to be a successful supervisor you need to be able to recognize the fact that leadership challenges will emerge. How you deal with these challenges will have an effect on the relationships among you and your team members. Here are 3 basic types of situations you may encounter as a supervisor that will need to be dealt with quickly and professionally.

  1. How to supervise friends. At some point you may find yourself having to supervise a close friend. Either you hired them yourself or you were promoted to a managerial role while they were not. Either way it can be uncomfortable for both you and your friend. It is important to talk with them and acknowledge the discomfort and discuss any concerns you both have about the situation. Determine whether or not the friendship is going to last. Sometimes your friend may resent you for being their boss and not accept it. You will have to make a choice on how to handle this type of situation. Make your expectations clear because the job needs to get done. As a supervisor you need to be aware of your role, either as a friend or a supervisor. Make it clear, at work you are their supervisor and you expect them to perform as you do your other employees. They should not receive any special privileges for merely being your friend. Lastly, be aware of taking out your frustrations on your friends. This tends to happen more often than not due to the fact you know one another’s weaknesses.
  2. How to supervise older more experienced employees. From time to time you may find yourself having to supervise someone that is a seasoned employee yet they lack formal education. Don’t dismiss what they have to offer. Their job experience is a wonderful resource to tap. They may know more about the job than you. Work together and formalize an agreement of no-competition. Work towards a positive relationship with one another. Use seasoned employees to train and educate other employees. Having seasoned employees is great, they know the ins and outs of the company. Take advantage of their knowledge, when appropriate, run some of your ideas by them. What they have to offer may be of great benefit.
  3. How to supervise younger less experienced employees. New employees need more supervision. When a new employee joins the team, make sure they know what is expected of them. Have them take immediate job ownership. Let them take on responsibility of solving problems and thinking on their own. Provide the resources to grow and educate the new team member and expect success from them. As a supervisor you have made your share of mistakes. Remember, your new employee will make mistakes as well. Encourage them to keep trying and acknowledge their effort. Help them to learn from their mistakes and take it to the next step.

As a supervisor it is critical to treat your employees fairly. Build relationships with your employees yet maintain a professional distance. State clearly what is expected of each of your employees, what types of behaviors are accepted as well as un-accepted. Be consistent when dealing with employees and personnel issues that come up. Above all lead by example and act on the behalf of the organization you work for.


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