How to Be a Good Supervisor & Reduce Supervisor Issues in the Workplace

Actual Comments on Why Employees Leave:

“The supervisors were not very…..friendly, I’m not saying let’s gossip but being direct and cold is a terrible way to have a professional relationship with your employees.”

“Did not take care of the problems that were brought to their attention. They just swept them under the carpet.”

“The direct supervisor was very sexist. When it came to the guys she was very lenient, but with the women she was hard and firm.”

The Solution

The above comments are from multiple exit interviews but all focus on supervisor issues. Good supervisors have many attributes. Let’s focus on a few of the attributes which relate to the above collection of comments.

Each day supervisors are faced with getting the work done to achieve the goals and objectives of the business. Many supervisors are under pressure and directly evaluated on the results they produce, which lends them to be more results-driven. Often times this leads supervisors to focus on the results and not the people. A very important attribute of good supervisors is the ability to connect with others to build rapport and trust. Although supervisors may think they do not have the time, they need to “get out from behind the desk” to check in with others, especially their subordinates. Taking a few minutes to demonstrate a genuine interest in others will go a far way in accomplishing results.

Supervisor issues within the workplace can stem from many things, but what exactly makes a good supervisor? Good supervisors don’t sweep problems under the carpet. They are always willing to listen to their employees. It is important to have an open-door policy where employees can confidentially bring issues and discuss them with managers. This doesn’t mean managers will always be able to take care of the issues brought before them, but it does mean they will not minimize or dismiss the concerns of employees. Good supervisors answer employees’ concerns and questions directly, honestly, and completely. Employees may not always like some of the answers they receive, but they will have respect for the supervisor who listens and is open and honest in responding to their issues and concerns. When employees feel they are able to talk with their manager and be listened to, they will be more inclined to work harder and go the extra mile to ensure company goals are met or often exceeded.

Treat employees fairly. Avoid having favorites and scapegoats. In the case of the last comment above, what the former employee is alleging is illegal. Follow company policy and when in doubt, go to HR for help. Good supervisors never put themselves in situations where their actions may be viewed as being illegal and thereby putting the company at risk for potential lawsuits.

Since HSD Metrics is an industry-leading exit interview company, we have documented thousands of turnover causes with our proprietary exit interview program, ExitRight. What we have found, is the number one turnover reason selected by former employees of all industries is, you guessed it, supervision and management. So, keep in mind, a good tactic to reduce turnover and supervisor issues is to hire, train, and nurture good supervisors and managers within your organization.

(This blog post is brought to you by HSD Metrics, an exit interview company that helps companies reduce employee turnover by providing automated reference checking, exit interviews, and by measuring employee retention. The comments from exiting employees that are featured in this blog are collected from actual exit interviews conducted using ExitRight®, HSD Metrics’ exit interviewing service. If you are interested in learning more, contact us today. Because we place the privacy of our clients at the top of our priority list; the names of all involved parties are kept completely confidential.)