10 Skills Every Supervisor Should Have

By Indeed Editorial Team

February 22, 2021

An effective supervisor needs to possess a certain set of skills. They should be confident leaders who can successfully motivate their teams. A good supervisor can help a company retain more talent and create a better work environment for employees of all levels. In this article, we share why supervisory skills are important and discuss 10 skills every supervisor should have.

Read more: What Are the Responsibilities of a Supervisor?

Why are supervisory skills important?

Supervisory skills are important because they are what makes someone qualified to be a leader. Many supervisors have a combination of soft and hard skills that make it possible for them to do their job well. Their soft skills include interpersonal skills that help them effectively lead their team.

As a supervisor, you should reflect upon your interpersonal skills and think about which ones are your strengths and which ones you should improve. By continuing to learn and develop in your role, you can become an even better supervisor and further your career.

Read more: How to Develop Your Skill Set to Advance Your Career

10 important supervisory skills

Supervisors need a special set of skills to be able to effectively lead their team. People are more likely to respect a confident and personable leader. If you are a supervisor or would like to become one, it's important that you develop your supervisory skills to be the best leader possible. Here are 10 skills every supervisor should have:

  1. Written and verbal communication

  2. Decision-making

  3. Interpersonal skills

  4. Adaptability

  5. Time management

  6. Conflict resolution

  7. Cooperation

  8. Mentorship

  9. Positivity

  10. Willingness to learn

1. Written and verbal communication

As a supervisor, you should have well-developed communication skills. Much of your work is directing others, so you need to be able to provide clear verbal and written instructions. As more workplaces are using email and messaging applications to communicate, it's especially important to be able to clearly convey your ideas through writing. When you are communicating face-to-face, it's important that you use active listening skills. Show your coworkers you value what they have to say by using nonverbal cues and feedback that show you're listening.

Related: How to Communicate Better With Coworkers

2. Decision-making

Supervisors regularly make important decisions for their team. Find a decision-making process that helps you make smart yet quick decisions. Use your critical thinking skills to weigh your options and predict the best possible outcomes. When making a decision, make it based on the well-being of your team and the company. Try to look at situations through an unbiased lens, and use the information available to make a thoughtful decision. Be willing to consult with others when making a decision that may affect people other than you.

Read more: Decision-Making Methods for the Workplace

3. Interpersonal skills

Be a leader whose employees feel open to communicating with you by working on your interpersonal skills. Always be kind to everyone you work with, and make a point to get to know them. With the right combination of personableness and professionalism, you can create healthy work relationships with your team.

4. Adaptability

Sudden changes at work are inevitable, so supervisors must be able to problem-solve with little notice. The ability to think and react quickly will help you overcome challenges and continue to efficiently lead your team. A good supervisor uses creative strategies to solve issues and is flexible in unexpected circumstances.

5. Time management

It's likely that in a supervisory role you need to manage many projects or tasks at once. Time management is a very important skill for a supervisor to have to get everything done on schedule. To have this skill, you must be able to prioritize and delegate tasks. You should be able to work efficiently and have a good idea of how long a task will take you to complete. Also, supervisors need to be conscientious about coming to work on time and staying until their work is done.

Read more: Find Out About Useful Time Management Tips and Advice

6. Conflict resolution

When managing multiple people, occasionally conflicts may occur. In these situations, it's your responsibility to find a solution to the disagreement. Often the best conflict resolution is one that involves a compromise from both parties. During tense situations, you need to be able to calm everyone down and help them understand the other person's perspective.

7. Cooperation

Though supervisors are in charge of many things, they need to know when to step back and let other people make decisions too. Your coworkers' thoughts and opinions are important and can be valuable in certain situations. A good supervisor can collaborate with others and be considerate of what other people want. Instead of giving orders all the time, meet with your team to discuss strategies and decision-making processes.

8. Mentorship

A supervisor should be someone who can help their team succeed at work and advance their careers. Support your team during challenging situations, and encourage them to work toward their goals. Offer them advice and guidance when they need it. Mentorship can go both ways, so give your team a chance to give you new insights as well.

9. Positivity

It's a supervisor's job to create a positive work environment for everyone. During busy times, you should be able to keep employee morale up. By always trying to have a positive and optimistic attitude, you are encouraging others to do the same. When challenges arise, show your team that you are confident that they will overcome any obstacles. Then, when your team is successful, make sure to give them positive feedback and acknowledge their hard work.

10. Willingness to learn

No matter what level you're at in your career, there is always an opportunity to learn more. An effective supervisor always wants to gain more knowledge and develop their skills. Try to learn as much as you can about your career, industry and role within the company. When you learn something new, pass your newfound knowledge onto your coworkers. By sharing your willingness to learn, you may inspire others to look for educational opportunities.

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