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10 Common Qualities of a Great Boss

Updated on January 24, 2017
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David has over 10 years supervisory experience and has extensive knowledge in how to handle personnel issues across many areas.

Qualities of a Supervisor

Bosses need to have fundamental qualities in order to effectively supervise their staff. No matter if you have been a supervisor for years, or thinking about becoming a boss, you need to have the right qualities in order to do a good job. This articles provides the ten qualities all supervisors need to have.

If you are the boss, you better have the right qualities to lead.
If you are the boss, you better have the right qualities to lead. | Source

Supervisors Should be Leaders

Supervisors need to be able to lead, during the good and the bad. If things are going bad in the organization, the manager is expected to lead their staff through it. If things are good, then it's the supervisor's responsibility to keep it going. A supervisor has to have leadership qualities in order to lead their staff effectively.

Have you ever had a supervisor that lacked the qualities to be a supervisor?

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Supervisors Have to Listen

It's said that there is a 50/50 chance you won't retain information you see or hear. Supervisors need to listen much more than that, especially since information may be coming from all directions. To do that, supervisors need to stop what they are doing and focus on the matter at hand.

It's important for a supervisor to close their mouth and listen to what their employee has to say.
It's important for a supervisor to close their mouth and listen to what their employee has to say. | Source

Supervisors Need to Solve Problems

When a problem comes up, what would most employees do? They turn to their supervisor to solve the problem. A supervisor is someone who analyzes the problem and offers a solution. Not only that, but they have to have the ability to follow through to ensure the problem is solved. Supervisors are there to solve the many problems that can hit the workplace.

Poor Qualities of a Supervisor

Supervisors Need to be Decision Makers

Making decisions is different than solving problems. Problems can be solved over time with careful planning. However, situations come up that require venturing into the unknown. This means a decision has to be made, even if it ends up being a bad one, a supervisor must make those decisions. Indecisiveness is deadly. Just remember to get feedback from your staff as well on those decisions.

It's important that supervisors make decisions for all of the issues that could come up.
It's important that supervisors make decisions for all of the issues that could come up. | Source

Supervisors Should Trust Their Employees

Trust is one of the biggest aspects in determining what a supervisor is. Supervisors are given trust from both those above them and the employees under them. In turn, a supervisor needs to trust their subordinates that the job is getting done. Second guessing the employee and micromanaging shows no trust at all.

It's very important for a supervisor to trust their employees.
It's very important for a supervisor to trust their employees. | Source

Supervisors Have to be Consistent

A supervisor is expected to be consistent in almost all that they do. The decisions they make, the way they act, etc. If a supervisor is all over the place in the way they handle things, then it makes things hard for the staff they supervise, causing chaos throughout the workplace. Plus staff will never know what to expect from you, so they may not approach you in the end.

A supervisor needs to be consistent to avoid confusing their staff.
A supervisor needs to be consistent to avoid confusing their staff. | Source

Supervisors Need to be Sensible

Another quality a supervisor needs to have is how is how sensible they are. Supervisors have to balance all factors in what they do. They can't blindly follow rules or simply ignore them. Think of what will matter most, and act on that. Just because a rule states to do something a specific way, doesn't mean it can't be bent to work out the best outcome.

Understanding your staff and empathizing with them is a very important supervisory trait.
Understanding your staff and empathizing with them is a very important supervisory trait. | Source

Supervisors Have to Lead by Example

Supervisors can't direct their staff to do something, then break their own rule. The best way to supervise is to lead by example. If staff have to be at work on time, then the supervisor has to be at work on time. If a supervisor begins to pick and choose what directives to follow, so will the staff.

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.

— John C. Maxwell

Supervisors Should Always be Positive

No matter how bad things get in a supervisor's life, whether work or personal, they should always be positive. A negative attitude will rub off on staff. They will get paranoid, worried, and it will bring down the entire unit. Leave your personal problems at the door.

A boss should always overcome negativity by being positive.
A boss should always overcome negativity by being positive. | Source

Supervisors Need to Adapt to Change

Change is inevitable. The sooner a supervisor embraces that change, then the sooner staff will as well. Change is hard on everyone, so it's the supervisor's responsibility to make it easier on their staff, no matter how hard it is. If anything, try to spin change in a positive way. In most cases, change can be a good thing.

What is the one quality you feel is the best quality for a supervisor to have?

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