5 Tips for Supervisors from Janet Waterston

We sat down with expert trainer, Janet Waterston, the facilitator behind many of our Leadership and Supervision Certificate Program workshops, to learn about what makes a great supervisor. She gave us some practical tips and resources that you can start using today to improve your relationships and effectiveness  in the workplace!

1. Read Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time. Sometimes, we   don’t say the things that need to be said. This book, by Susan Scott, “really pushes us to recognize that we can be honest and direct without hurting our relationships with others” says Janet. The book  provides specific suggestions for  leaders to help them build relationships through direct, if tough, conversations.

2. Know Your Priorities. Janet highly recommends Franklin Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. She likes this resource for its value-based approach to relationships and because it teaches people to “schedule their priorities, and not prioritize their schedule”. Supervisors and leaders should take the time to identify what is most important so they focus on an effective work environment.

3. Practice Makes Perfect. Adults generally retain 20% of what they hear, but retain 90% of what they say and do! So take a workshop, read a book, and  reinforce your learning by practicing new techniques and skills  on a regular basis. Taking  workshops that build on each other, as in the Leadership and Supervision Certificate Program, and reviewing reading materials are great ways to reinforce your learning and realize changes in your behavior.

4. Bite Your Tongue. Janet believes the most important quality in a strong supervisor or leader is the ability to listen, yet listening can be challenging.  Don’t do all the talking. Think before you speak to make sure you’ve really heard what the other person is saying; reflect back to make sure you’ve understood; and then respond.

5. Be Patient with Yourself. Janet’s biggest tip to supervisors is to not be hard on yourself. Changing your behavior and improving your leadership skills are no easy tasks, so if you feel yourself reverting to old behavior, just keep practicing!

For more ways to improve your supervisory skills, check our management classes, or our Leadership and Supervision Certificate. The program, which is specifically designed for adult learners, will give you insight into best practices and tips, and will help you reinforce your learning to see real results. For questions about the program, please contact Janice Shapiro at [email protected]

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