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what are the top ten qualities of a supervisor?

10 management skills

Managing a group of people who all have different personalities, abilities and who may or may not interact well with each other is not an easy task and, in my opinion, to be successful you require certain qualities and skills such as:

  1. Excellent communication skills. You need to relay instructions very clearly so every part is well understood in order to avoid mistakes. You also need to listen carefully to what your employees tell you. A very good way to make sure someone has understood your instructions is to ask them to repeat everything in their own words. To make sure you have received information correctly, you should say "so what you are saying is..." and repeat in your own words. This simple method avoids many misunderstandings.
  2. Fairness. Human beings react badly to what they perceive as unfair. So if you delegate work to others make sure you are scrupulous in allocating pleasant and unpleasant tasks evenly.
  3. Good organisational skills are essential. It is your job to coordinate the work and allocate resources. You should know where everything is and be prepared for the task.
  4. Knowledge. Part of the supervisor's job is to train others so it goes without saying that you should be at least one step ahead of them.
  5. Accountability. If a mistake is made by one of your team you should acknowledge responsibility every time unless they have deliberately disobeyed your instructions.
  6. Efficiency. For your department to work like clockwork you should always have the next task ready to be allocated to the right person so no-one spends any time doing nothing.
  7. Adaptability. Be ready to manage change efficiently as and when it happens even if you don't agree with it.
  8. Social skills. You should be courteous at all times. When you have to tell someone off, it should be done assertively but politely and never in front of other people. Everyone makes mistakes and nobody needs to be humiliated. Shouting at people is not a good idea as they will become resentful and unhappy. You will get more done with a smile than with rudeness. Don't be afraid to praise your team for a task well done. The carrot always works better than the stick.
  9. Diplomacy. As a supervisor you have loyalty to the company who pays your wages but also loyalty to your team who are responsible for your results. A difficult balance which requires a great deal of tact.
  10. Self-discipline. As a supervisor, you should inspire respect so discretion in your private life is essential nor can you tell people off for lateness if you are always late yourself.


A very helpful guide


Arinze on June 14, 2016:

It is good and useful

Bonnes A.Maleva on December 20, 2015:

Thank you very much for introducing this information for learners and other scholars.Real it is a wonderful piece for the present and in future because experience has shown that many don't know their responsibilities as supervisors. Big up madame.

Jane .O. on June 12, 2015:

Thank you very much for providing this information for students, supervisors and those to become supervisor in future because many don't know their responsibility as a supervisor.

Rose-Marie owumi on April 01, 2015:

Thanks a lot for this master piece. It will sure help my work as a supervisor

ammu on February 28, 2015:

super :)

Tobias jumba on February 27, 2015:

The article delivers everything in a layman's language. Thanks.

Lawal Yusuf Abubakar (El~Y YUSUF) on September 13, 2014:

That am looking for since.... I thank GOD I got it now... KUDOS to the person who posted it.

fredy shereni on August 20, 2014:


Kingsley N Appiah on July 09, 2014:

This platform have really help me a lot in my career as a restaurant supervisor. thanx a lot

Muhammad B. Muhammad on October 27, 2013:

i sincerely appreciate and forward my gratitude to those give me more information about this matter, because i can now differentiate about the things supervisor do in schools and their needs in school.......thanks a lot.

babylyn pongpong on October 07, 2013:

thank you for this information .. :) it will help me alot .. im a newly promoted sales supervisor and i don't know how to handle people and i don't how to be supervisor .. so, thanks a lot .. i will keep these information .. :) i did not save it to my PC rather i wrote it in my notebook .. :) see ,how your information influenced me .. :)

BENSON MOKABEDI on September 08, 2013:

Thank u i realy gain many things from ponts SIR

kiseka on July 21, 2013:

its really gorgeous and wonderful thx 4yo help

Osielo Tobias on April 17, 2013:

Thank you, i have realy gain many things from the attributes of a supervisor.

Shekinah on March 06, 2013:

Thankssss, Helpful!

Oyetoki Oluwaseun on July 01, 2012:

Thank you, i realy gain many things from your points.

khan usman on June 06, 2012:

hi martine, can i use it f0r my paper w0rks 2 b publish?

and i think, kn0wng d empl0yee but n0t t0o pers0nal, is an0ther nice idea 2 b included.


Aita cross on November 21, 2011:

Thank u for ur worth discription on significant qualities of supervisor . I have to attend supervisor interview in this week.it helped me a lot to answer question

Joseph on November 10, 2011:

Here, here. I could not have said it better!

steve on November 09, 2011:

1st let me say that's a job well done many thanx to that. I really needed that I applying for a new job as a supervisor. thanks

Eka raj on November 01, 2011:

It really useful words and who will flow your valuable point he will get a great opportunity

Thanks so much

By Eka Raj

Salah Al Matrook on October 02, 2011:

Very good and usful

jennylyn on September 11, 2011:

what are the steps that should undergo to improve the quality of supervisors?

Yosigawa on August 23, 2011:

thankyou very much,it is very useful

mesktav on June 08, 2011:

thank you for this information it inspire me in my quest for becoming a better supervisor for the company which i work.

Enoce kitomary on May 19, 2011:

Thank you martin for your materials about good supervisor qualities,they helped me in my study on how to supervis people in my work place.

Yusufawa on May 11, 2011:

Thank u very much nw i judge my self & i can judge any body.

Ahmad Usaini Umar on March 25, 2011:

I'm very glad for fond this the top ten qualities of a supervisor.This is because, I took several times of looking for this gualities

conny from Cali. on January 10, 2011:

Thank you for the well structured insight on the qualities a supervisor needs. I wish all supervisors would read this and apply it, some take advantage of their position, and in return you end up with frustrated and burned out employees!

Gitonga david on December 28, 2010:

Keep up good analysis.iwould like to have more.

Arun kumar on November 03, 2010:

easy way 2 understand and very useful tips 2 become a good supervisor. thank alot.........

Aru kumar on November 03, 2010:

easy way 2 understand and very useful tips 2 become a good supervisor. thank alot.........

raj on October 07, 2010:

thank you very much for providing the information, about how to be a good supervisor..

roshidah on July 26, 2010:

thank you martine. this article really help. straigt forward and easy to understand.

Charles V Ra...ju on July 22, 2010:

Thank You...Perfect..well detailed...n too the Point...

Thank You

Babar Ali on July 12, 2010:


Dominique George on April 19, 2010:

I must say your information was very useful to me in writing my thesis for my project.

Mohammad Hussain Issari on April 14, 2010:

thank you very much for these wonderful information. I got confuse to write an essay about best qualities of a boss, but when I found this, I could write a strong one and now I'm very happy and feel ok.


Martine Callaghan (author) from Edinburgh - Scotland on July 31, 2009:

That's always a good place to start but you need to be very honest with yourself. It's difficult to see ourselves as others see us.

Ranju Pandey on July 31, 2009:

Thanks for the tips so that I can evaluate myself.

MM Del Rosario from NSW, Australia on June 02, 2008:

thank you for answering my request....

Nina Smart on June 02, 2008:

In addition, I would suggest the following qualities and skills:

1. Know your employees by name. Make an effort to get to know them on a personal level, i.e. their hobbies, families, culture, etc. However, don't get too personal - unless you are working for FBI, CIA, or police this interest could be suspicious.

2. Start evaluating your employees from the position that they are superb and any mistake they make is just an exception. Nobody wants to work for a supervisor who firmly believes that their employees are inferior.

solarshingles from london on June 01, 2008:

Martine, I strongly believe in your statement, that people are the biggest asset any enterprise possesses. And also, that there is simply not enough good leaders out there. Without a proper leadership any organizational structure collapses on a long term basis. I also like your good example of your head of department.

Martine Callaghan (author) from Edinburgh - Scotland on June 01, 2008:

Many thanks solarshingles. I am, in fact, describing a very good head of department I had when I started teaching and she had all those qualities. I flourished under her leadership and guidance as did all the new teachers who came to her department and we achieved great things individually and as a team. Sadly, I have met many more bad ones than good ones resulting in demoralised and frustrated highly skilled and enthusiastic staff leaving the profession. People are the most important resource of any enterprise and require and deserve good leadership to achieve success.

Trsmd from India on June 01, 2008:

well said...

solarshingles from london on June 01, 2008:

Dear Martine, I admire your precise - very punctual and short description of a good Supervisor. I believe, your description could be accepted in any educational material about describing basic leadership skills, as well. Thank you!

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