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What Makes a Good Supervisor

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 27 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
What Makes A Good Supervisor

There are numerous qualities which you’ll need to be able to demonstrate in order to become a good supervisor.

Communication and Influence

Most good supervisors tend to have a charismatic personality and a natural ability to be able to communicate effectively with all kinds of people. In order to supervise a team effectively and get the best out of them, they need to be able to respect you which means leading by example.

A good supervisor should be willing to pitch in where necessary and the role is definitely not about telling others what to do in a dictatorial manner. That will only cause the staff to resent you and make them less inclined to be co-operative. By getting involved when needed and appreciating what their job entails, you’ll be able to exert a positive influence over them which in turn will encourage them to influence their colleagues. This is a good basis for effective management.

Generating Ideas and Initiating Change

A good supervisor will be able to identify areas of the retail business where improvements could be made. It may be that the workers seem unmotivated so you need to be able to spot that and to come up with ideas about how to change the culture. Therefore, you should be constantly asking yourself how any problems can be fixed and if changes need to be made you should be able to explain the reasons for that and the benefits of doing so which will enable your staff to undertake their work more efficiently. This, in turn, should create an improvement in staff morale.

Encouraging Input From the Staff

As a supervisor, you should encourage your staff to give you feedback and be open to suggestions of how things might be tackled differently. In spite of the fact that your role should include having a thorough understanding of what your staff’s duties are, you’re not always going to know everything about what’s happening out there on the shop floor. Therefore, encourage both one-to-one sessions with your staff and hold regular meetings with all of them as a group so ideas and grievances can be tossed around and changes can be made.

Setting Goals and Targets

The retail sector is all about generating sales so it’s important that you set both yourself and your team realistic goals and targets. Having something to work towards is always a prime factor when it comes to motivation and your staff will appreciate having pre-defined aims that they can set their sights on.

Handling Pressure

The retail sector is all about being able to handle pressure and sorting out problems from time to time. Therefore, you should lead by example. Take a customer complaint, for example. You’ll know that, through the experience you’ve gained throughout your career, customer complaints are rarely directed at the member of staff themselves but because of some actual or perceived fault with a product or service.

Therefore, you need to be able to handle complaints calmly with the aim of getting the customer back in the company’s good books. By demonstrating this quality to your staff, they will know how to deal with similar problems without them becoming escalated.

Other qualities you should have if you want a successful career as a supervisor in retail or to progress even further in management should include being organised, being firm but fair, showing flexibility and having the ability to anticipate situations so that you can plan ahead.

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