Three Challenges for Line Supervisors and How to Manage Them

Three Challenges for Line Supervisors and How to Manage Them

1st-level supervisors face potentially confusing challenges that often go overlooked. They don’t have the authority and/or experience of their manager, yet they are often responsible for leading large teams of people. To make the tactics immediately actionable, we will use the Situational Leadership Model for everyone to practice with. This process is guaranteed to greatly increase employee engagement and task management.

What can managers do to help their supervisors feel and be more successful? Below are three examples of the many challenges supervisors encounter. Providing a solution is helpful, but the goal of POPProbe is to provide maximum value to our readers by providing tactics that can be implemented immediately. To make the tactics immediately actionable, we will use the Situational Leadership Model for everyone to practice with. The Situational Leadership steps are:

  1. Tell
  2. Show
  3. Do
  4. Feedback

What this means is that for any new task or skill assigned to a supervisor, the manager will

  1. The manager will tell the supervisor what the task or skill is by thoroughly describing it
  2. The manager will then show the supervisor, in detail, exactly that s(he) has told the supervisor.
  3. The supervisor will perform (do) the task or skill at that time as training, or actually with his/her team as OJT. The manager should be observing the supervisor and providing positive coaching throughout.
  4. The manager will then provide feedback, focused on both: what went well, and areas of further focus to the Supervisor.
  5. The manager will repeat this process if needed.

This process is guaranteed to greatly increase employee engagement because:

  1. The supervisor feels valued and cared for
  2. The supervisor is receiving training
  3. The manager is learning new skills, since we learn while teaching
  4. Employees see that the organization values training and learning

So what’s not to love?

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Three Problems Supervisors Face

PROBLEM - 1

The supervisor often does not know the objectives and policies of top management but heavily influences what management can accomplish through his/her team members.

SOLUTION

Communicate objectives and plan tactics.

HOW TO IMPLEMENT
Tell

Have high-performing leaders in your organization who are known to engage and motivate their direct reports to share (tell) best practices in the following areas:

Show

Have the supervisor participate and/or listen to the following:

  • Holding team meetings to present objectives and explain policies, or
  • Schedule one-on-one meetings with key employees who naturally demonstrate “the message”
Do

During the supervisor’s next meeting, observe the supervisor presenting the business objectives and explaining new policies.

Feedback

At the end of the meeting, take appropriate time to provide feedback to discuss: what went well, and areas of further focus.

PROBLEM - 2

The supervisor is supposed to spend much time on interpersonal relationships but finds that much of that time is needed for record keeping.

SOLUTION

Get electronic tools like POPProbe to make relationship-building communications quick and easy!

HOW TO IMPLEMENT

Tell

Tell supervisor to schedule brief 1:1’s (even 15 minutes) and small-group coffee meetings, and (do) keep a record of these using POPProbe. Photos are both proof and fun!

Show

The manager can schedule meetings with his/her direct reports and invite the supervisor to sit in on the meetings.

Do

Have the supervisor schedule meetings, and either attend meetings as a coach, or simply look for photo proof.

Feedback

Meet with supervisor to discuss: what went well, and areas of further focus.

PROBLEM - 3

The supervisor is in the first line of management but has little authority.

SOLUTION

Tell them where they can make decisions, i.e. delegate authority.

HOW TO IMPLEMENT

Tell
  1. Get clear on your own authority. Get very clear in your own head, and (show) with your own boss, about precisely what authority you have, then speak and act with the confidence.
  2. Get aligned with your boss behind the scenes. There’s no faster way to destroy your authority than to say one thing and then have your boss reverse it later. To avoid this, (show) get aligned with your manager on tricky or sensitive issues ahead of time.
  3. As Manager, lead a (show) department meeting to communicate authority you are delegating to your supervisor.
  4. Stop worrying about being liked. Your focus should (do) be on being respected and effective, and not on being liked so that people take you seriously.
  5. Be direct. Rather than shying away from difficult or awkward conversations, you’ll appear far more authoritative if you simply say (do) what needs to be said, directly and clearly.
Feedback

Supervisors should ask their managers for feedback, and/or managers should schedule time with supervisors to do the same.

How POPProbe Supports Supervisor Task Management

With POPProbe, in just seconds you can:

  • Delegate/empower other users to organize tasks
  • Plan and assign tasks via mobile and desk-top dashboard
  • Create and assign team tasks
  • Set deadlines to complete tasks
  • Sort and review individual and team tasks
  • Provide photo reporting for everything - build it into team photo album!

This is just the task management set of activities. There’s so much more to POPProbe!

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