First line supervision is the key to success

Over the last 25 years we have been reviewing a lot of businesses in various sectors, but when observing behavior of first line supervisors and managers we see a constant behavior whatever the industry may be.

In most organizations supervisors are spending most of their time doing (excess) administrative tasks or sitting many hours in (pointless) meetings.

In many businesses, the best workers get rewarded by being promoted to supervisor without being provided with the right toolbox nor training.

What did we observe ?

  •  Most time spent doing administrative tasks and meetings
  •  Excessive time spent doing the work of the people they’re supposed to supervise as well as firefighting
  • Insufficient time spent on skills development and active steering

How come that managers and first line supervisors insufficiently steer on performance?

  1.  Their own managers don’t lead by example and don’t make them do it either. To put it bluntly: If directors don’t direct, managers don’t manage and supervisors don’t supervise don’t be surprised that in many organizations up to 40% productivity is lost.
  2.  Many people prefer to be popular and feel very uncomfortable steering on performance
  3.  Some of them never wanted to become a supervisor but only wanted the status and the paycheck
  4.  They never received the proper training for it
  5.  They don’t have time as most time is spent on other things like Firefighting, admin, meetings and routine work.

At EffCo we strongly believe that the key for successfully implementing sustainable efficiency improvements lays in process improvement, skills development and active steering.

10 tips for supervisory success:

  1.  Spend more time listening to your people than talking
  2.  Be available and make time to develop your supervisors, in other words get on the floor!
  3.  Set and communicate priorities for them
  4.  Be transparent and explain decisions
  5.  Empower them
  6.  Take responsibility, give credit and celebrate victories
  7.  Not only invest in developing technical skills but also the interhuman ones
  8.  Set clear goals and targets and develop roadmaps on how to get there
  9.  Encourage first level supervisors to stand up for and express their beliefs to senior management
  10.  Drastically cut down the admin and meetings


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