Supervisor Training: Helpful tips to lead your pack
By Stephanie Tuia
A new supervisor is hired to anchor a gardening project that has fallen apart. The last supervisor walked out on the job because he was overwhelmed with the high expectations of the project. The new supervisor is in charge of ten teenage workers, five young women and five young men, all of whom are not thrilled to be working on a summer day. As the new replacement, the supervisor is in charge of landscaping the lawn and garden areas that garnish a business complex. The complex manager has informed the supervisor that he has a three hour time limit to mow and trim the lawn areas, weed out the old plants and dead greenery, and replace them with a fresh array of tulip bulbs. By the day’s end, the supervisor has a $20 food budget to feed the 10 workers on their lunch break. The summer heat is burning, and the teenagers would rather be out by the pool. Instead, they are required to sacrifice this day at work. The supervisor is overwhelmed with the task, but motivated to assist with all the responsibilities of his ten employees for the next three hours.
What is this supervisor to do with limited time, resources, and not to mention, controlling ten wild teenagers who are not thrilled to be working while their peers are at play? Good training will assist him in completing his duties as supervisor of the project.
Supervisor training involves motivation. Attitude, incentives and goal-setting will lighten up any burdensome task, and during the hot afternoon, the crew will need the motivation to work.
• Attitude - It is important that the supervisor is optimistic, especially in light of an arduous task. If the supervisor reflects an optimistic attitude, his workers will be easily influenced.
• Incentives - Rewards do not have to be tangible; pats on the back and encouraging words are just as enticing. When the atmosphere is uplifting and when authority is not threatening, workers are more inclined to conform to their surroundings.
• Goal Setting - Making goals will help the supervisor’s crew envision what they need to accomplish in order to be successful. When the supervisor paints a picture of what needs to be done, the goals are specific, and thus, easier to follow.
Supervisor training involves delegation. Delegation converts deadweight into useful energy. From a personal account, I previously worked under a great supervisor who delegated work responsibilities equally and fairly among his workers. He efficiently distributed the work among his resources and that alleviated him from carrying the entire workload. He would make assignments and follow up with everyone to make sure that all tasks have been properly completed.
A supervisor who utilizes delegation will provide positive outcomes for his workers. As workers, their roles are enhanced with responsibilities and they know that their contributions are needed and valued. For example, the supervisor of this gardening project would group individuals to cover different regions of the lawn and would follow up on their progression. This style of supervising allows teams to focus on their assigned area and helps the supervisor to keep track of the equal distribution of work duties.
Supervisor training involves resource management. The supervisor will use the limited resources he has to make this project tolerable. For example, the supervisor knows he will be working with anxious teenagers that have lived up to the motto of no work, all play. That explanation could make him nervous in itself. However, he brainstormed an idea of mixing work with play and encouraged his workers to wear their swimsuits while working. With the sprinkler system turned on, the crew will be able to cool off while working in the heat.
Feeding the hungry teenagers after work will be a challenge with $20 to spend. Depending on what degree of fine dining he wants to go, or how picky or how healthy conscious his workers are or aren’t, starving appetites after a hard working day might override all eating preferences. The supervisor settles in on ordering four large pizzas for $5 each at a local pizza place. The business complex offers employees complimentary beverages and paper goods, so the supervisor takes advantage of that resource to keep morale high.
By the end of the day, the supervisor left with a sense of success and his young workers went home with a full stomach and pride of beautifying the gardens of the business complex. With these supervising training tips in mind, you can turn any laborious task into an enjoyable and learning experience.