Superior Skills for New and Tenured Supervisors
“The biggest impression my supervisor makes is on his chair!”
“I came to this company to grow…yeah…that’s not gonna happen!”
“I tried to offer advice to (my supervisor) and it backfired – she’s held a grudge since and now I’m stuck here!”
“Don’t get me wrong, my supervisor’s a good guy, but he’s got no backbone!”
“We call our supervisor the tyrant because she’s a bully. Maybe she figures that’s the only way to survive in a mostly male dominated company?”
You’ve just been given a small sampling of the hundreds of comments expressed to me over the last ten years. My perception of the average employee is best summed up this way: They are emotionally vested in their perspective company/organization, but they are fed up with management for a wide variety of reasons, including the above mentioned.
Notice I said average employee! This does not account for the 10% that have a great relationship with their superiors; built on respect, trust, and admiration. It also doesn’t account for the 10% that resist authority, look for reasons to complain, and basically behave like rotten apples despite your effort. (In the workplace, the opposite of a Good Egg is a Rotten Apple, yet rotten eggs smells worse than rotten apples. They smell worse than everything for that matter! Thankfully I haven’t crossed paths with a Rotten Egg; maybe you have?)
Back to the average employee…Initially, I take what they say at face value until I test the quality of their judgment, gather enough facts and hear opposing view points. In other words, I exercise healthy skepticism until I feel quite certain that their original judgment was correct, and then I recommend a remedy. (By the way, I have no problem playing Devil’s Advocate with company owners, CEOs, Executives, and HR personnel too, because as we all know, Rotten Apples are not limited to the bottom of a corporate structure!)
“How can you tell the difference between a good egg and a bad egg? Eggs are rated and graded into three classifications determined by the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA then labels the eggs AA, A, and B.” – Southern States Cooperative
Employees rate your performance with three “standards”. They believe a supervisor gets a AA rating if they…
1. “Know me!” Be conscious of (and increasingly familiar with) my expectations, motivators, de-motivators, learning style, reactions to stress, strengths, untapped potential, limitations, and values.
2. “Show me!” Be clear with your expectations. Provide guidelines, resources, checkpoints and consequences that are specific to my job function. Model integrity, commitment, effective problem solving and collaboration.
3. “Grow me!” Be firm yet fair. Provide recognition and objective criticism. Hold me accountable to “push the envelope” professionally. Seek my input, advice and opinion (even on your leadership ability). Exercise transparency so that I may learn from your mistakes and eventually step into your shoes as you progress in your own career.
So, would you say you’re a Good Egg? If you want to be sure, ask your employees what they think. It may take a few attempts to get them to be completely honest with you, so don’t give up! The quickest way to build trust in the employer-employee relationship is to ask for honest feedback and act on it!
But what ever you do, don’t overreact to critical remarks you weren’t expecting! Don’t crack under pressure, don’t hold a grudge, don’t use that feedback against them…don’t even joke about it lightheartedly! Or you may land up with egg on your face!
A Good Egg is always looking for ways to build (versus damage) trust. More about that in a future post! For now, come up with one specific thing you can do to enhance your role as Supervisor – and then decorate an egg or two!
The featured photo: Easter dinner at Lynette’s house 2012. Egg decorating is a serious business when you go there! (Are you hosting a holiday meal? Boil a dozen eggs and provide guests with paint brushes and some watercolors. It keeps them out of your hair while you’re cooking!)
Johnny, signing off…
Johnny Supervisor is a platform dedicated to strengthening the weakest (yet most important) link in the chain of command — through developing superior supervisors who are committed to the company’s smooth succession. Follow Johnny for articles, resources and recent trends in healthy succession at the supervisory level. By the way, Johnny travels well!
DISCLAIMER: Johnny is a fictitious character who emerged while training thousands of employees in different organizations. Johnny represents males AND females in a variety of industries.
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