Occasionally, executives are faced with the complex problem of appointing a first-year student to a supervisory position. Naturally, his credentials have been deemed sufficient. However, a personal "message" from you may assist him in approaching his duty with a greater sense of comprehension—both of his work and your expectations. Therefore, it is essential to discover some suggestions for adequate supervision and staff performance. Additionally, the following recommendations are unlikely to be made in a single session, but over time. These "supervision principles" have aided many an aspiring manager in making the grade:
Maintain a solid but fair tone
You can lead, direct, and instruct. You can — and should — talk and act with conviction and power. However, it is critical to recognize that circumstances do not change individuals; people change conditions. What works in one situation may not work in another. What is acceptable to one individual may be very unacceptable to another. A competent supervisor understands how to be adaptable to be equitable.
Utilize the expertise and skills of others
Nobody is so brilliant that he knows everything. Accept suggestions and recommendations from others: your subordinates, your supervisor, your staff, and other department leaders. Taking an interest in what they have to say may help you in two ways: they will be inspired by your attention, and their ideas may spare you from many headaches.
Do not flaunt your authority.
Make recommendations but issue few commands – you receive a lot more from people when you guide them rather than commanding them. Assume that people are collaborating with you, not against you, for the group's — and organization's — mutual advantage.
Recognize your errors
Even the best CEO cannot be correct all of the time. When you make a mistake, do not attempt an alibi or transfer the responsibility to someone else. Acknowledge your error and provide a short explanation if you believe it is necessary. This is true whether the error affects only one individual or the whole group.
Even when it is painful, do not hesitate to tell someone he is doing an inadequate job—it is for his benefit—but also bring out how he might improve. In this manner, you demonstrate to him that even if he is now low, there is no reason he cannot go higher. Bear in mind the other side of the coin—award credit where and when it is deserved. Everybody appreciates a word of praise and thanks for a job well done.
People will not readily follow a leader who fluctuates in mood, flatters one day and fears the next, speaks in a blue streak in the morning and refuses to open his lips in the afternoon. They get perplexed and uncertain. Having a balanced temperament is not always straightforward. At times, you have to bite your tongue hard to avoid saying something you'll regret. Alternatively, it may take a colleague's direct question, "What's wrong with you?" to bring your attention to your attitude. Accept such remarks on a good faith basis—and then return to normalcy.
To your speaking success!