12 Important Skills of a Supervisor to Succeed in Your Role

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 November 2021

A supervisor plays a critical role in directing and motivating their team to meet their productivity goals and improve performance. An excellent supervisor uses their leadership skills to handle business and administrative duties while providing guidance for their team. Understanding the skills and qualities of effective supervisors can help you improve your own leadership abilities and create a better work environment for employees at all levels. In this article, we discuss 12 important skills of a supervisor you may develop to help you succeed in your career.

Read more: How to Be a Good Supervisor (With Steps and Tips)

12 important skills of a supervisor

The skills of a supervisor can help them become a confident and respectable leader. Several supervisors have a combination of hard and soft skills that help them do their job effectively. As a supervisor, it's important to reflect upon your skills and identify your strengths and areas of improvement. By continuing to learn and develop in your job, you can become an even better supervisor and further advance your career. Here's a list of the most important 12 skills required to succeed as a supervisor:

1. Written and verbal communication

A supervisor may frequently collaborate with contacts within and outside their organisation, so having excellent communication skills is crucial. Your team members and senior management rely on you to communicate effectively so that you can interact and direct your team to work efficiently and produce high-quality outcomes. Being able to provide clear instructions, both verbal and written, is critical to success in your role as a supervisor.

Read more: How to Improve Your Communication Skills at Work in 10 Steps

2. Decision-making skills

Decision-making skills are a significant part of the supervisor's job. Thus, it's important to find a decision-making process that enables you to make smart and quick decisions.

When you're making a decision, ensure that it benefits your team and the company. As a supervisor, the employer also expects you to make unbiased decisions. Therefore, use your critical thinking skills to analyse each situation objectively so that you can make a decision that offers the best outcome. In case of decisions that may affect other people, it's better to consult with them before arriving at a conclusion.

3. Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are social skills that are essential to interact with other people, both individual and group. Interpersonal skills include caring towards team members, communicating with them, comforting them when needed and collaborating and working together. Aim to be a supervisor your team members feel comfortable speaking with. Develop your interpersonal skills by getting to know your team members and constantly interacting with them. Creating a healthy relationship with your team members can help you share directions and get work done successfully on time.

4. Adaptability

The workplace is constantly evolving, therefore, it's important to anticipate and accept change. A supervisor plays a critical role in helping their team tackle change. Understanding change, thinking about a solution and reacting quickly are essential skills of a supervisor. A skilled supervisor uses creative strategies to solve issues and is flexible and adaptable when faced with unexpected circumstances.

5. Time management

A supervisor manages multiple projects or tasks simultaneously and requires excellent time management skills to be successful in their role. Being able to prioritise tasks and activities can help increase your productivity. With good time management skills, you can complete each task without sacrificing quality or managing several tasks at once.

A supervisor may sometimes help in planning and prioritising the work of their team members to help them manage their work and time effectively. In such situations, prioritise tasks and delegate work to appropriate team members based on their skills and capabilities.

Read more: What Does a Supervisor Do? (Plus Top Skills and Responsibilities)

6. Conflict resolution

When multiple people work together, it's possible for conflicts to arise due to miscommunication. These conflicts may hinder the work and affect the productivity of the team. In such scenarios, it's the supervisor's responsibility to find a solution and resolve the conflict. While engaging in conflict resolution, focus on reaching a solution that's acceptable to all parties involved. During such tense situations, attempt to calm everyone down and help them understand each other's perspectives. This is especially important when conflicts affect individuals emotionally.

7. Cooperation

Though supervisors are responsible for leading their team, sometimes it's essential to step back and let other people make decisions, too. There may be situations where more knowledgeable team members can make a more informed decision. Instead of simply giving out instructions to your team members, get them involved in decision-making processes by meeting with them. Be appreciative of your team member's thoughts and decisions. Sometimes, they may offer valuable insights for your consideration. A good supervisor collaborates with others and is considerate of what other people think.

8. Mentorship

Along with developing your skills, a good supervisor focuses on motivating the team. Provide opportunities for your team members to improve their skills so that they can succeed and achieve their career ambitions. When a challenging situation arises, support the team and encourage them to focus on their goals. A good supervisor may also play the role of a mentor to the team. Support them by providing advice and guidance when they require it. Along with providing mentorship to the team, try to get feedback on your work so that you may also improve.

9. Active listening

Along with being able to communicate, being a good listener is also essential. When you interact with your team members, it's essential that you practise active listening skills. Show your colleagues that you value what they're saying by using nonverbal cues that show your interest. For example, you may make eye contact and nod as they speak. Be an active listener and respond to their queries, concerns and ideas.

This can aid your ability to function well as a team, especially as a supervisor whose goal is to motivate each individual towards a shared team goal. When you encourage your team members, it motivates them to express their concerns and come up with innovative ideas.

Read more: A Complete Guide on How to Deal With a Micromanager (With Tips)

10. Positivity

Creating a positive work environment is essential for performing well at work. One of the primary responsibilities of a supervisor is to create a healthy and positive atmosphere in the workplace. There may be situations when the team might work hard to achieve their targets. The supervisor's support and motivation are important to maintaining morale during challenging times. Being optimistic and positive are qualities a supervisor may develop to be successful in this role.

Whenever challenges arise, the supervisor leads the team with a positive attitude and confidence and ensures that they can overcome any obstacles. It's equally important to appreciate the team when they achieve success. Acknowledging their hard work and giving positive feedback motivates the team to perform well.

11. Willingness to learn

Continuous learning at all stages of your career is essential for success. No matter what level you're in your career, there's always an opportunity to learn more. A career-focused supervisor who wants to be successful always attempts to gain more knowledge and develop their skills.

Try to keep yourself updated with the latest trends and developments in your industry. Understanding the duties and responsibilities of your role within the industry and company can help you perform well in the role. Along with gaining knowledge, a good supervisor also shares their learnings with the team. Your willingness to learn can inspire your team members to explore more opportunities for self-development, too.

12. Leadership

A good supervisor is also an efficient leader. They understand the strengths and weaknesses of their team members and bring out the best in the people around them. A good leader listens to the team whenever they have a concern or idea to discuss. This way, they can create a conducive environment where individuals feel comfortable enough to voice their thoughts and deter problems. Along with directing them in their work, it's the supervisor's responsibility to lead the team and encourage them during challenging situations.

The supervisor's leadership qualities may encourage the team members to develop their skills and rise to higher positions in their careers. Along with supporting their team, a supervisor with good leadership qualities promotes strategic planning and comes up with innovative ideas for their team.

Explore more articles