Supervising employees or tasks is not a simple matter. Supervisors need a certain set of skills in order to accomplish their jobs efficiently and effectively. In this lesson, you'll learn about some of these core skills. A short quiz follows.
Meet Melissa. She's a supervisor at a company that manufactures toys. Her job is to oversee employees engaged in their assigned tasks and projects. Supervisors are front line mangers, which means that they are down on the ground and in the trenches.
Melissa, like all supervisors, needs a specific set of skills to successfully supervise. In fact, the American Management Association has identified six essential skills that Melissa needs to master. (You can find more information on the association's website.) Let's take a quick look at each of these skills.
Management & Leadership
Supervisors may be on the lowest end of the management totem pole, but their leadership and management skills are absolutely essential to the success of any organization. Melissa is where the rubber hits the road; where the business of the business is done.
She's on the production room floor making sure that her employees are getting the toys produced. She needs to be able to set goals and prioritize. She also has to be able to delegate tasks to capable subordinates. Melissa must also be able to develop and coach her employees.
Melissa also needs to have effective communication skills. She needs to be able to inspire and persuade. She also needs to be an active listener, which is being able to understand not only the content of a message, but also its intent and the circumstances that the message is being communicated. She also needs to be able to read non-verbal communication cues, such as hand gestures and facial expressions.
Melissa needs collaboration skills that allow her to work with others to accomplish group goals. This skill gives her the ability to form alliances and teams, establish rapport with superiors and subordinates and effectively negotiate.
Supervisors need to be able to solve problems, and this means they must possess critical thinking skills. Melissa must be able to use logic and research to solve problems. She must be able to identify and avoid bias and errors in reasoning. She must also be able to come up with acceptable solutions to problems. She often must be able to do this under a high degree of pressure.
Most of the decisions supervisors make can make or cost a business money. Thus, Melissa needs to acquire a financial skill. She needs to understand how her decisions can affect her company's bottom line. She may even need to be able to make financial forecasts for the needs of her department, creating a budget from her predictions and follow it.
Finally, supervisors need project management skills. Project management is the process of planning, organizing and controlling resources to achieve a particular goal. For example, Melissa may be charged with producing 1,000 units of the latest toy by the end of the week. She'll need to know how to organize and compile the requisite employees and materials in order to accomplish a project.
Project management will often require her to work as a member of a cross-functional team whose members come from different disciplines and parts of the company. For example, she may be working with people from research and development and people from marketing for the launch of the latest toy.
Let's review what we've learned. A supervisor is a front line manager. A successful supervisor needs at least six essential skills. These skills include management and leadership, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, finance and project management skills.
After watching this lesson, you should be able to define what a supervisor is, as well as describe the six essential skills they need and why.