Supervising staff and leading staff is a huge responsibility not just for the individual business, but for your business as a whole. As a Supervising Executive Director I am often asked what my role is in my business, and whether I am leading or supervising the Supervising Staff. In most organisations where I have worked as a Supervising Executive Director, the Supervising Executive is leading the team and oversees all that includes the team and the member teams. Sometimes I am the sole Supervising Staff member, but I only lead small teams and have a very small impact on the larger business. For example the company I am now involved in is a medical device manufacturing company and I was the sole Supervising Staff member until this past week when the other Supervising Staff was called into a meeting with the management and it was decided that a shift of the Supervising Staff to the new strategic role of Clinical Lead would be implemented.
So for the past week I have been concentrating on trying to adapt my mindset to suit the new situation. It is very easy for me to get defensive in a meeting like this because I know I'm the Supervising Staff so it's easy to revert to my old ways and say things like, "If we don't do this people will leave the company" or "If we don't change this here we won't have any sales". It's nice to hear and it may be true, but if you stop and think you might realise that you have a problem on your hands. One of the problems I have seen over again is Supervising Staff not being able to lead a team or effectively lead a team. This needs to be fixed as soon as possible because Supervising Staff can put their head on the ground, but they are not the person who is going to be leading the team.
For me, I love to lead, but at the same time I am not the natural leader so I have to adapt my mindset and character to a more leadership role. One of the ways I have been doing this is by having regular one on one meetings with the Supervising Staff to help them understand where they are in their role within the business and where they are going if they want to be promoted or move on. I know this has been helpful because I have been Supervising Staff for over 7 years and there are some areas where I could have done more to support them. I also realised that the Supervising Staff needed some direction from someone who was in the same position and who knows what they are doing.
I know this is much easier said than done and for some of us we just don't enjoy the role of Supervising Staff. But for others, they find it fun and it helps them relate to other people in the business. It is important for Supervisors to take a role which suits the Supervising Staff and make sure they are doing everything that is required of them, while supporting them to achieve their own personal and career targets. As a Supervising Sales Person, I was Supervising the Sales Department but, had I allowed myself to take further responsibility I know that it would have made my job easier and in turn increased the enjoyment of my job.
Supervisors need to put a role or a training program into place that suits each of the individual Supervisors. There are different ways of supporting staff to develop their skills and knowledge. The most obvious is to do role or training sessions in team settings where the Supervisors themselves attend. These are usually done once a week and can involve both staff and supervisors. In addition, there are many support groups and professional services that can help with the development of each staff member.
Supervisors need to decide what format to use for the training program. It is very common for a Supervising Staff to spend time with the sales team in the mornings setting objectives and goals for the week. They will then present the information to the sales team on a weekly basis. During these sessions, it is important for the Supervisors to set clear goals for the next week and ask for their input, so that the training program is not just a walk in the park. Supervisors should consider asking the sales team to attend training sessions on a rotating basis as well to ensure they are always reviewing the training program and meeting the needs of each individual salesperson.
It is important to keep the training sessions short and easy so that people remember them easily. If possible, consider taking some short breaks during the training session to refresh the memory. Try to stay on task and finish training sessions quickly to give the Supervisors an added boost to motivate them. Finally, try to provide the Supervisors with examples or role-plays of what they have been taught so that they can see how important the information is and apply it themselves.
Supervising staff requires great effort and patience. The Supervisors are not looking for fancy titles or a large raise. Their main goal is to make sure that each member of staff has a greater understanding of the role they are undertaking. Supervisors must constantly support each other and provide the support that is needed for the staff to successfully carry out the role of training.