Top 5 Supervisor Skills Every Organisation Needs 

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Supervisor Skills

Supervisors and management teams are the backbone of any business or corporation. Within their role at your organisation, a supervisor should be a leader, mentor, and problem-solver rolled into one. After all, they are responsible for guiding their team towards common goals, resolving conflicts, and ensuring tasks are completed efficiently.

However, leadership skills aren’t something that happen overnight. They require continuous development and learning to excel.

So, what are the best supervisor skills to invest in to help support your organisation’s goals?

Hard Skills vs Soft Skills

In the realm of supervisor skills, it is vital that a supervisor has a good combination of hard and soft skills. Hard skills are technical abilities that you can only learn through education or training, such as project management or data analysis. These are often job-specific and can be easily measured.

Soft skills are interpersonal traits like communication, adaptability, and leadership. For supervisors, hard skills may secure the job, but it’s their soft skills that enable excellence. These abilities are crucial, as they often serve as the glue binding the team together and propelling them towards achievement.

Within these soft skills, there are 5 skills every supervisor needs to truly excel as part of the management team: communication, time management, conflict resolution, decision making and adaptability.

1.  Communication

Effective communication is a cornerstone skill you should look for in a supervisor. A supervisor is not just someone who tells people what to do. They should nurture a two-way street of understanding, feedback, and trust within their team There are three different communication skills supervisors need to ensure they’re getting the best out of their team.

Active Listening

When supervisors listen actively, they can catch subtle cues that may indicate larger issues within the team. Research shows that active listening not only improves a supervisor’s job performance but also enhances the effectiveness of the team.

Clear verbal and written communication

Whether your supervisors are assigning daily tasks, explaining complex project details, or sending out email updates, their messages must be easy to understand. Confusion leads to errors, which can be costly for your organisation.

Non-verbal communication

The body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice your supervisors use can send powerful messages. For instance, maintaining eye contact can indicate focus and engagement, while a warm tone can make team members feel at ease. On the flip side, crossed arms or a stern face can create barriers.

Feedback and Recognition

Feedback is crucial for improvement and should be a core competency for your supervisors. Constructive criticism helps team members understand where they can improve, but it’s equally important for supervisors to recognise and praise good work. A simple “well done” can significantly boost team morale. Research by Quantum Workplace shows that when employees believe they’ll be recognised, they are 2.7 times more likely to be highly engaged and, therefore, more productive. Your supervisors should also be open to receiving feedback, as this not only helps them improve but also sets a positive example for the team.

2. Time Management

Time management is more than just a buzzword; it’s an important skill that impacts every aspect of the role of your supervisors By ensuring your supervisors master these aspects of time management, you’re doing more than just getting tasks done; you’re fostering a work environment where everyone can excel. Effective time management is not just one of the many qualities of a good supervisor. It is a skill that benefits not just them but your entire team.

Prioritising and Delegating Tasks

One of the first steps in effective time management for your supervisors is knowing how to prioritise and delegate tasks. Your supervisors can’t handle everything on their own, and trying to do so will only lead to burnout and inefficiency. Learning to delegate tasks effectively can free up their time for higher-level responsibilities. It also empowers team members by giving them ownership of their work, which can boost morale and job satisfaction. Additionally, not all tasks are created equal. Some are urgent, while others are important but not time-sensitive. So when delegating tasks, it’s important supervisors know how to prioritise their team’s workload.

Deadlines and Monitoring Progress

Deadlines are essential for keeping everyone on track, and it’s important for your supervisors to set realistic deadlines. Overly ambitious timelines can lead to stress, mistakes, and poor-quality work. Supervisors also need to monitor how things are progressing. This involves regular check-ins with team members, tracking key performance indicators, and being ready to adjust plans as needed.

3. Conflict Resolution

Conflict is a natural part of any work environment, but how your supervisors handle it can make all the difference. Their ability to resolve conflicts effectively can set the tone for your team’s culture, productivity, and overall well-being.

Identifying and Starting Dialogue

The first step in effective conflict resolution is identifying the root cause of the issue. Is it a clash of personalities, a misunderstanding, or perhaps a structural issue like an unequal distribution of resources? Without knowing the underlying cause, it’s difficult to find a lasting solution.

Creating an environment where team members feel comfortable speaking openly is key, especially as many conflicts arise from misunderstandings or lack of communication.

Mediation and Follow-Up

Sometimes, conflicts won’t resolve themselves, and that’s when your supervisors will need to step in as mediators. This is often more than just listening; they’ll need to guide conversations, remain neutral, and help both parties find common ground.

However, resolving a conflict doesn’t end when both parties shake hands. Supervisors need to take follow-up actions to ensure the issue doesn’t recur. This could mean regular check-ins with the involved parties, revising certain work processes, or organising team-building activities.

4. Decision-Making

Supervisor’s decisions impact not just their team but also projects and the broader organisation. Ensuring your supervisors are adept at decision-making is essential for their credibility and the overall success of their teams.

Gathering and Evaluating

The first step in making a sound decision is to gather all the relevant information. This could involve talking to team members, reviewing data, or even seeking advice from higher-ups to gather a comprehensive view of the situation.

Once the information is gathered, supervisors need to weigh the pros and cons of each possible course of action and consider how each aligns with team objectives and the company’s overall goals. The more thorough the evaluation, the more confident they can be in their final decision.

Making the Call

Being decisive and clear in their choices is crucial for supervisors. Ambiguity can lead to confusion among team members and can damage trust in their leadership. A 2022 study found that effective leadership can significantly improve team performance and job satisfaction. Supervisors must set clear goals, provide regular feedback, and create an environment where everyone feels valued. Once the decision is made, it should be communicated clearly and openly to the team, where a supervisor’s communication skills come back into play.

Learning from Outcomes

Every decision offers a learning opportunity. Supervisors who learn from their decisions are better equipped to make effective choices in the future. Learning from outcomes is not about dwelling on past mistakes but rather about gaining valuable insights from both successes and setbacks. This proactive approach to decision-making empowers supervisors to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing business landscape.

5. Adaptability

A supervisor’s ability to adapt to new situations can significantly impact how well their teams perform and cope with change. Additionally, a supervisor’s attitude towards change can set the tone for the entire team.


New challenges often require new solutions. Being adaptable means your supervisors should be good at thinking on their feet. When faced with an unfamiliar problem, they should use their problem-solving skills to find a solution. Sometimes, the old ways won’t work anymore, and they’ll need to be flexible in their approach. This flexibility can help teams transition smoothly, whether adopting new technology or changing a work process.

Continuous Learning

The world is always changing, and to keep up, your supervisors need to be continuously learning. This could mean taking courses, attending workshops, or staying updated on industry trends. Their ability to adapt will help their teams navigate the ups and downs of the work environment, making them more effective supervisors within your organisation.

Train Your Supervisors for Success with LCT

Don’t leave your organisation’s growth to chance. Invest in your supervisors and your team by enrolling in one of our specialised training programmes. At London Corporate Training, we understand how important corporate training is for strengthening company values and helping businesses get closer to their short and long-term goals.

Studies have shown that companies that invest in employee development see higher levels of engagement and retention. At London Corporate Training (LCT), we offer leadership courses for new and experienced supervisors and team leaders. The courses help develop their interpersonal skills and cover topics like verbal skills, assertiveness, problem-solving, and time management. They aim to help you influence people, make good decisions, and manage stress so your supervisors can excel in their positions.

At LCT, we offer courses like Women in Leadership and High Impact Leadership, designed to help your supervisors become the best they can be. Check out our various courses to see how our customised training can improve your workforce and move your organisation closer to its objectives.


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