Skills and Practices in Organizational Supervision
© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.
Adapted from the Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision.
NOTE: The following areas of knowledge and skills are typically mentioned among those that should be mastered by supervisors. Note that supervision is a management role -- areas of knowledge and skills required by new managers often include those required by new supervisors.
NOTE: The Basic Guide to Management and Supervision includes overviews of each of the following areas of knowledge and skills, along with links to additional, advanced and free information. Many of the following links are to section of the Guide. Therefore, the reader should consider printing out the Guide for ongoing reference to understand areas of knowledge and skills required by new supervisors and managers.
Sections of This Topic Include
Additional Information for Nonprofits
Related Library Topics
Also See the Library’s Blogs Related to Supervision
In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blogs which have posts related to Supervision. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in the blog.
Using the Following Lists
Some Disagreement About Competencies Need by SupervisorsMost people will agree on what key knowledge, skills and abilities are required to drive a car -- this is not the case with supervisor training. Introductory courses, workshops and seminars on supervision can include a wide range of topics and depend very much on what the designer of the training program believes supervisors should know. These beliefs can vary widely, particularly because: a) trainers have varying opinions about roles of supervisors; and b) the nature of today's workplace is changing to include more, eg, self-managed teams, emphasis on leadership, diversity management, performance management, etc.
Some Misunderstandings About Competencies Needed by SupervisorsThere are often misunderstandings about the role of supervisors, for example, people mistakenly believe that supervision occurs only with entry-level workers. This belief is incorrect. Chief Executive Officers are supervisors of Chief Financial Officers, and middle-line managers are supervisors of first-line managers, etc.
Also, trainers can forget that supervisors are seldom only responsible for supervision. Too often, supervision is carried out "in the background", secondary to getting a product or service out the door. Consequently, supervisory training programs sometimes neglect to include key skills, such as handling burnout, stress management, time management, etc.
Don't Get Hung Up On Categories -- Different People Will Categorize Topics DifferentlyIf the reader had the opportunity to review a wide variety of supervisoral development programs, he or she would notice a wide variety of approaches to categorizing topics. Don't get hung up on the "right" way to categorize the following topics.
Core Skills in Management and SupervisionProblem Solving and Decision Making
Basics of Internal Communications
Designing the Organization and StaffDesigning the Organization and Staff
StaffingDefining a New Job Role
Hiring (Advertising, Screening and Selecting)
Employee TrainingOrienting New Employees
Employee Performance ManagementSetting Goals
Supporting Employee Motivation
Observing and Giving Feedback
Conducting Performance Appraisals/Reviews
Addressing Performance Problems
Personnel PoliciesDeveloping Personnel Policies
Developing an Employee Manual
Sample List of Personnel Policies
Additional Knowledge and Skills Required in Nonprofit ManagementFundraising
For the Category of Supervision:
To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.
Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.
General Information About Supervising Other Individuals
- Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision in Business
- by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides step-by-step, highly practical guidelines to recruit, utilize and evaluate the best employees for your business. Includes guidelines to effectively lead yourself (as Board member or employee), other individuals, groups and organizations. Includes guidelines to avoid burnout -- a very common problem among employees of small businesses. Many materials in this Library's topic about staffing are adapted from this book.
- Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision With Nonprofit Staff
- by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides step-by-step, highly practical guidelines to recruit, utilize and evaluate the best staff members for your nonprofit. Includes guidelines to effectively lead yourself (as Board member or staff member), other individuals, groups and organizations. Includes guidelines to avoid burnout -- a very common problem among nonprofit staff. Many materials in this Library's topic about staffing are adapted from this book.
The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.