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Best Practices Manual for Supervisors

In: Business and Management

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Best Practices Manual for Supervisors
University of Phoenix
September 24, 2011
MGT/210

Supervisors are a great asset to a company’s success. Supervisors need to be effective and efficient in their job as well as managing the employees beneath them. Supervisors have some of the greatest responsibilities in assuring that their teams are performing their task and achieving their goals to make the company successful. To have a successful team, Supervisors will need to demonstrate some best practices in certain areas to manage the team, these areas are:

1. Demonstrating Communication Skills
2. Determining Effective Orientation and Training Methods
3. Improving Productivity for Teams
4. Conducting Performance Appraisals
5. Resolving Conflict
6. Improving Employee Relations

This Best Practice Manual for Supervisor will take each of these six areas and will demonstrate two best practices for each area. If a supervisor will learn from these best practices then they will become an effective supervisor for their teams and their teams will become effective and efficient.

Demonstrating Communication Skills Demonstrating communication skills is a must for every supervisor. If a supervisor has poor communication skills they will not be able to communicate effectively to their teams. The two best practices for demonstrating communication skills are learning to listen, and keep written and verbal communications clear. The first best practice to communicate effectively with their team is to learn how to listen to their team. To receive good communication then teams need to learn to exchange their thoughts and ideas and then discuss the outcomes of those ideas. In order for a supervisor to assist the team members properly then they need to listen to their ideas and concerns so they will be able to respond to those ideas and concerns in the correct manner. If there is an open communication between the team members and the supervisors then the team members will be more comfortable discussing concerns or ideas with their supervisor. This will lead the team to become more effective and efficient in their work group. The second best practice a supervisor needs to learn is to demonstrate good communication skills in their written and verbal communications. Because communication is so important for the team to understand the direction and the guidance of the supervisor it is important that the supervisor makes their verbal and written instructions clear to the team. If a supervisor is unclear in their written or verbal communications then there is room for the team to misunderstand and error in their tasks. When the supervisor gives written instruction to the team they should follow up with verbal communication to ensure that the written instructions were understood correctly. Determining Effective Orientation and Training Methods A supervisor must determine effective orientation and training methods. If a supervisor has poor or inadequate orientation and training methods then the team members will be unprepared completing their tasks and acing the new challenges that their employment brings. The two best practices for a supervisor to determine effective orientation and training methods are to prepare the proper materials to well inform the new hires in orientation, and to prepare proper training depending on the individual being trained. “Unfortunately, orientation and training programs are often overlooked. A recent U.S. study, for example, found that 57 percent of employers reported that although employees' skill requirements had increased over a three-year period, only 20 percent of employees were fully proficient in their jobs.” (CliffsNotes.com, 2011) The first best practice for supervisors to do is prepare the proper materials to well inform the new hires in orientation. When people are hired on to a new company the orientation is extremely valuable for them to understand their new position and to know the benefits and expectations of the job. Usually new hires will make their initial opinions of the company and their supervisors during the orientation. Thos opinion will help determine whether the company will retain this employee for the life of their career or whether they will look for new employment elsewhere. It is also important that the supervisor is well prepared with the correct information so the employee is aware of all the benefits that the company may offer. Because benefits are a great resource for a company to attract new hires, many of these employees will want detailed information on all benefits during their orientation. If there is something that is left out of the benefits during orientation such as 401k enrollment this could cause the employee to lose out on a valuable benefit. So it is extremely important for supervisors to be properly prepared with all the necessary materials for orientation. The second best practice for supervisors is to prepare the proper training depending on the individual. Because training is extremely important throughout an employee’s time with a company from the day they are hired to the day they retire. A supervisor is responsible to provide all new hires with the proper training to effectively do their job. Supervisors are also responsible to train other employees with new practices, technologies that are developed, and new positions that may increase productivity. These trainings could be completed by the supervisor or assigned by the supervisor to other employees that are currently familiar with the task. By assigning employees to assist train other they learn responsibility, leadership, and may develop a trust with the new hire. This could help the current employee further their career with advancement opportunities. For the supervisor to determine the proper course of action to train an employee they must know what the employee already knows and are capable of doing. Improving Productivity for Teams Supervisors are extremely important to improve the productivity of their team. This is an essential task given to the supervisors by the company to improve productivity. Without constant improvement on productivity companies would not be successful and would go out of business. The two best practices that a supervisor can do to improve their teams productivity is to provide personnel support to each of the team members and increase cooperation and the unity of the team members. The first best practice for supervisors is to provide personal support to each of the team members. The overall productivity of the team is directly related to the personal performance of an individual team member. The overall productivity of the individual could also be directly related to the management of the supervisor. A supervisor needs to be aware of the overall productivity of the team and the individuals on that team. If a need of support arises within the group or with an individual it needs to be addressed as soon as possible. This practice will ensure that individual team members will feel that they are important to the team and to the company. When an employee feels like they are part of the team then their overall productivity will increase, which will increase the productivity of the group. The second best practice for supervisors is to increase the unity and the cooperation of the team members. When a team does not cooperate or they have lack of unity it will affect their overall effectiveness. A supervisor can increase unity and cooperation of their team with good leadership and by being a good example. If a supervisor demonstrates to the team that they are willing to work with them and others it will inspire them to do the same. If the supervisor is determine to ensure that every team member is happy, and then they will be willing to cooperate better as a team. A supervisor needs to set goals for the team to accomplish as a team, by doing so this will help the team unit in that common goal. Any conflicts that are faced by the team should be resolved quickly; the supervisor should try resolving them as a team if possible.

Conducting Performance Appraisals Supervisors need to conduct frequent performance appraisals. It is important that performance appraisals are done on every employee to ensure that the company’s standards of the employee’s employment are being followed. The two best practices that a supervisor can do in conducting performance appraisals are to perform the appraisals often, and the appraisals should be performed without any bias toward the employee. “The bulk of your time as an appraiser should be spent on listening.” (2008, Brodie)

The first best practice that a supervisor can do is to perform the appraisals often. Performance appraisals should occur annually or biannually, depending on the employee involved they may be conduct more often. The appraisals are an opportunity to discover on how the employee is doing in their job. The appraisals are an opportunity for the supervisor to talk with the employee about how they are performing in their job. This also gives a chance for the supervisor the opportunity to tell the employee how they can improve in their job. By completing the appraisals often the employee will know when they will be performed and will know that they need to keep their performance up so they will not receive a poor performance appraisal.
The second best practice for a supervisor to do is to complete the appraisal without any bias toward the employee. A supervisor should perform the appraisal based on the employee’s actual work ethic and not on their personality. The performance appraisal is used to better their performance and not to punish them for their flaws. If a supervisor starts the appraisal with preconceptions of the employee it may lead to misunderstandings between the employee and the supervisor causing unnecessary conflict. If the supervisor approaches the appraisal with understanding of the employee and respect to the employee, then the appraisal should be successful in helping the employee better their performance.

Resolving Conflict Supervisor is charged with the responsibility of keeping order and resolving any conflicts that may happen within their team. If a supervisor does not help resolve any conflicts that occur, it will affect the productivity and the unity of the team. The best two practices that a supervisor can use to resolve conflict is to understand the conflict before getting involved, and to help plan out and implement the resolution to the conflict. “After all, nothing is more important than your company and its survival. Nothing is better for your company's survival than learning to make peace and resolve the inevitable disputes that will arise.” (Berman, 2009) The first best practice for a supervisor to do is to understand the conflict before getting involved. Conflict usually occurs when the team does not have unity, and one employee wants to do things their way and another employee wants things done there way which causes conflict. Sometimes conflict ends up being a good thing because a resolution is discovered that helps improve the overall productivity and effectiveness of the team. But if the supervisor hears of a conflict and does not know all the details of the conflict they may inadvertently make the situation worse. That is why it is very important to get all the facts of the conflict before getting involved. After getting all the facts then it is time for the supervisor to step in and help resolve the conflict. The second best practice for a supervisor to do is to help plan out and implement the resolution to the conflict. After getting all the facts the supervisor will need to talk with all the employees involved to get their side to the conflict. It is always best as a supervisor to try and help the employees involved resolve the conflict with their own resolution, but if a resolution cannot be presented then the supervisor will need to resolve the issue in a neutral manner. To resolve the issue in a neutral manner usually involves not taking sides with one employee over another because that may cause more conflict. The resolution must be a neutral decision to all the parties involved.

Improving Employee Relations A supervisor needs to continually try improving employee relations. Because the team is important in keeping the effectiveness and productivity up a supervisor must be part of the team. The two best practices that a supervisor can do to improve employee relations are to treat all employees equally, and determine a way to be fair in disciplinary measures. The first best practice a supervisor can do is to treat all employees equally. If a supervisor does not show equality to the employees it might cause contention amongst the other employees that the supervisor does not treat equally. This will not improve the relations with the employees but cause unnecessary conflict. The supervisor should not show favoritism to one employee over another. The supervisor should try and show equality to all members of the team by dealing with each member equally when involving tasks that are assigned, assistance that is given, benefits, and compensation. The second best practice for a supervisor to do is to be air in any disciplinary measures that may need to be enforced. A supervisor needs to try and balance a working relationship with the employees as well as an enforcement relationship, this may be a difficult task but necessary. Without strict rules to abide by and consequences for breaking those rules disorder and disunity may occur. Employees should be given opportunity to rectify any rules that have been broken and if no positive changes occur then the necessary discipline should be enforced without any leniency.
Conclusion
Without a strong leader teams will be ineffective and will not overcome obstacles. But if a supervisor follows these simple best practices, they will be a successful supervisor in leading their team to be effective and efficient in their employment. The company will be happy with their team and their productivity.
References
Lee J Berman, 2009 “13 Tools for Resolving Conflict in the Workplace, with Customers and in Life” Retrieved September 25, 2011 from http://www.mediationtools.com/articles/conflictres.html
CliffsNotes.com. Orientation and Training Programs. Retrieved September 25, 2011 http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/Orientation-and-Training-Programs.topicArticleId-8944,articleId-8895.html Duncan Brodie, 2008 “Conducting Powerful Performance Appraisals” Retrieved September 25, 2011 from http://ezinearticles.com/?Conducting-Powerful-Performance-Appraisals&id=1041153

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