what are the top ten qualities of a supervisor?

10 management skills

Managing a group of people who all have different personalities, abilities and who may or may not interact well with each other is not an easy task and, in my opinion, to be successful you require certain qualities and skills such as:

  1. Excellent communication skills. You need to relay instructions very clearly so every part is well understood in order to avoid mistakes. You also need to listen carefully to what your employees tell you. A very good way to make sure someone has understood your instructions is to ask them to repeat everything in their own words. To make sure you have received information correctly, you should say "so what you are saying is..." and repeat in your own words. This simple method avoids many misunderstandings.
  2. Fairness. Human beings react badly to what they perceive as unfair. So if you delegate work to others make sure you are scrupulous in allocating pleasant and unpleasant tasks evenly.
  3. Good organisational skills are essential. It is your job to coordinate the work and allocate resources. You should know where everything is and be prepared for the task.
  4. Knowledge. Part of the supervisor's job is to train others so it goes without saying that you should be at least one step ahead of them.
  5. Accountability. If a mistake is made by one of your team you should acknowledge responsibility every time unless they have deliberately disobeyed your instructions.
  6. Efficiency. For your department to work like clockwork you should always have the next task ready to be allocated to the right person so no-one spends any time doing nothing.
  7. Adaptability. Be ready to manage change efficiently as and when it happens even if you don't agree with it.
  8. Social skills. You should be courteous at all times. When you have to tell someone off, it should be done assertively but politely and never in front of other people. Everyone makes mistakes and nobody needs to be humiliated. Shouting at people is not a good idea as they will become resentful and unhappy. You will get more done with a smile than with rudeness. Don't be afraid to praise your team for a task well done. The carrot always works better than the stick.
  9. Diplomacy. As a supervisor you have loyalty to the company who pays your wages but also loyalty to your team who are responsible for your results. A difficult balance which requires a great deal of tact.
  10. Self-discipline. As a supervisor, you should inspire respect so discretion in your private life is essential nor can you tell people off for lateness if you are always late yourself.


Comments 46 comments

solarshingles profile image

solarshingles 8 years ago from london

Dear Martine, I admire your precise - very punctual and short description of a good Supervisor. I believe, your description could be accepted in any educational material about describing basic leadership skills, as well. Thank you!

Trsmd profile image

Trsmd 8 years ago from India

well said...

martinecallaghan profile image

martinecallaghan 8 years ago from Edinburgh - Scotland Author

Many thanks solarshingles. I am, in fact, describing a very good head of department I had when I started teaching and she had all those qualities. I flourished under her leadership and guidance as did all the new teachers who came to her department and we achieved great things individually and as a team. Sadly, I have met many more bad ones than good ones resulting in demoralised and frustrated highly skilled and enthusiastic staff leaving the profession. People are the most important resource of any enterprise and require and deserve good leadership to achieve success.

solarshingles profile image

solarshingles 8 years ago from london

Martine, I strongly believe in your statement, that people are the biggest asset any enterprise possesses. And also, that there is simply not enough good leaders out there. Without a proper leadership any organizational structure collapses on a long term basis. I also like your good example of your head of department.

Nina Smart profile image

Nina Smart 8 years ago

In addition, I would suggest the following qualities and skills:

1. Know your employees by name. Make an effort to get to know them on a personal level, i.e. their hobbies, families, culture, etc. However, don't get too personal - unless you are working for FBI, CIA, or police this interest could be suspicious.

2. Start evaluating your employees from the position that they are superb and any mistake they make is just an exception. Nobody wants to work for a supervisor who firmly believes that their employees are inferior.

MM Del Rosario profile image

MM Del Rosario 8 years ago from NSW, Australia

thank you for answering my request....

Ranju Pandey 7 years ago

Thanks for the tips so that I can evaluate myself.

martinecallaghan profile image

martinecallaghan 7 years ago from Edinburgh - Scotland Author

That's always a good place to start but you need to be very honest with yourself. It's difficult to see ourselves as others see us.

Mohammad Hussain Issari 6 years ago

thank you very much for these wonderful information. I got confuse to write an essay about best qualities of a boss, but when I found this, I could write a strong one and now I'm very happy and feel ok.


Dominique George 6 years ago

I must say your information was very useful to me in writing my thesis for my project.

Babar Ali 6 years ago


Charles V Ra...ju 6 years ago

Thank You...Perfect..well detailed...n too the Point...

Thank You

roshidah 6 years ago

thank you martine. this article really help. straigt forward and easy to understand.

raj 6 years ago

thank you very much for providing the information, about how to be a good supervisor..

Aru kumar 6 years ago

easy way 2 understand and very useful tips 2 become a good supervisor. thank alot.........

Arun kumar 6 years ago

easy way 2 understand and very useful tips 2 become a good supervisor. thank alot.........

Gitonga david 6 years ago

Keep up good analysis.iwould like to have more.

conny from Cali. 6 years ago

Thank you for the well structured insight on the qualities a supervisor needs. I wish all supervisors would read this and apply it, some take advantage of their position, and in return you end up with frustrated and burned out employees!

Ahmad Usaini Umar 5 years ago

I'm very glad for fond this the top ten qualities of a supervisor.This is because, I took several times of looking for this gualities

Yusufawa 5 years ago

Thank u very much nw i judge my self & i can judge any body.

Enoce kitomary 5 years ago

Thank you martin for your materials about good supervisor qualities,they helped me in my study on how to supervis people in my work place.

mesktav 5 years ago

thank you for this information it inspire me in my quest for becoming a better supervisor for the company which i work.

Yosigawa 5 years ago

thankyou very much,it is very useful

jennylyn 5 years ago

what are the steps that should undergo to improve the quality of supervisors?

Salah Al Matrook 5 years ago

Very good and usful

Eka raj 5 years ago

It really useful words and who will flow your valuable point he will get a great opportunity

Thanks so much

By Eka Raj

steve 5 years ago

1st let me say that's a job well done many thanx to that. I really needed that I applying for a new job as a supervisor. thanks

Joseph 5 years ago

Here, here. I could not have said it better!

Aita cross 5 years ago

Thank u for ur worth discription on significant qualities of supervisor . I have to attend supervisor interview in this week.it helped me a lot to answer question

khan usman 4 years ago

hi martine, can i use it f0r my paper w0rks 2 b publish?

and i think, kn0wng d empl0yee but n0t t0o pers0nal, is an0ther nice idea 2 b included.


Oyetoki Oluwaseun 4 years ago

Thank you, i realy gain many things from your points.

Shekinah 3 years ago

Thankssss, Helpful!

Osielo Tobias 3 years ago

Thank you, i have realy gain many things from the attributes of a supervisor.

kiseka 3 years ago

its really gorgeous and wonderful thx 4yo help


Thank u i realy gain many things from ponts SIR

babylyn pongpong 3 years ago

thank you for this information .. :) it will help me alot .. im a newly promoted sales supervisor and i don't know how to handle people and i don't how to be supervisor .. so, thanks a lot .. i will keep these information .. :) i did not save it to my PC rather i wrote it in my notebook .. :) see ,how your information influenced me .. :)

Muhammad B. Muhammad 3 years ago

i sincerely appreciate and forward my gratitude to those give me more information about this matter, because i can now differentiate about the things supervisor do in schools and their needs in school.......thanks a lot.

Kingsley N Appiah 2 years ago

This platform have really help me a lot in my career as a restaurant supervisor. thanx a lot

fredy shereni 2 years ago


Lawal Yusuf Abubakar (El~Y YUSUF) 2 years ago

That am looking for since.... I thank GOD I got it now... KUDOS to the person who posted it.

Tobias jumba 23 months ago

The article delivers everything in a layman's language. Thanks.

ammu 23 months ago

super :)

Rose-Marie owumi 22 months ago

Thanks a lot for this master piece. It will sure help my work as a supervisor

Jane .O. 19 months ago

Thank you very much for providing this information for students, supervisors and those to become supervisor in future because many don't know their responsibility as a supervisor.

Bonnes A.Maleva 13 months ago

Thank you very much for introducing this information for learners and other scholars.Real it is a wonderful piece for the present and in future because experience has shown that many don't know their responsibilities as supervisors. Big up madame.

Arinze 7 months ago

It is good and useful

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