Expectations Of Supervision

Successful supervision is an intentional process that requires thoughtfulness, skills, and willingness to learn from our mistakes. All supervisors have their own work duties in addition to their supervisory responsibilities. Successful supervisors balance their supervisory and other work responsibilities. Managers have a huge impact on their employees' quality of work life. Often, employees' work relationships with their supervisors make the difference between employees staying in or leaving a position.

The on-campus Supervisory Leadership Development Program promotes four key areas of responsibility and skill development for supervisors:

  1. Managing Self
  2. Managing Others
  3. Managing the Work
  4. Managing the System

Let’s explore them one at a time.

Managing Self

It is crucial to understand your own work style: Linda Marchesani, Director, Workplace Learning & Development

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To successfully manage others, we must understand ourselves. We can not successfully manage others if we are unable or unwilling to manage our selves. We will not do it all perfectly, all the time. We all have strengths and areas that challenge us. Managing Self includes acting as a role model for others and developing our skills in several areas:

Self-Awareness And Integration of Self and Role

  • Understand your own work style preferences.
  • Recognize and work comfortably with their own and others’ work style preferences.
  • Be aware of your own values.
  • Recognize other people's different values and work well with them.
  • Understand your role in the larger environment.

Does all work need to be done one way? We all have work style preferences. If supervisors and employees can agree on the desired end result, then letting employees take the lead in completing the task, while keeping to University policies and procedures, can often make for more productive employees and workplaces.

Effective Communication

  • Consistently and clearly communicate expectations.
  • Listen effectively.
  • Provide clear feedback.
  • Notice and attend to non-verbal communication.
  • Adapt your personal communication style to fit a variety of situations.
  • Match the most appropriate method of communication to your message.

Understands the Importance of Diversity

  • Understand your own social identities and how they impact your work as a supervisor.
  • Understands the different types of social diversity that exist in the workplace.
  • Interact effectively with people who have different social identities.

What is your experience with working in a diverse workplace?

Managing Others

Supervisors are responsible for overseeing the human, financial and material resources of the University. As a supervisor you are obligated to maintain the highest standards of performance for yourself and your staff. Every supervisor is responsible for establishing and supporting a work environment that recognizes every employee's dignity and worth and that encourages collaboration, innovation, and quality work.

Managers do this by:

Creating and Maintaining a Respectful Workplace

  • Knowing the components of an open, accepting and respectful work environment.
  • Assessing the current climate of trust, respect and inclusiveness in your work environment.
  • Identifying steps to create a more respectful workplace.
  • Effectively supervising people with different social identities.

We are all responsible for supporting a respectful workplace. Supervisors have an even greater responsibility for maintaining a respectful workplace, as supervisors are responsible for overseeing and enforcing workplace rules. Supervisors need to address inappropriate behavior as soon as it occurs. You can make it easier by working with staff to establish guidelines for respectful behavior, educating new employees about the guidelines, and consistently enforcing both your workplace guidelines and the University's policies.

Supervisors hold a particular responsibility for creating and maintaining a respectful workplace

Video: Debora Ferreira, Director, Equal Opportunity and Diversity

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Conducting Performance Management

  • Understands your role and function in performance management.
  • Know the cycle of performance management.
  • Write effective goals.
  • Coach employees and provide feedback for performance improvement.
  • Recognize employees contributions.
  • Use University forms for performance evaluation and development.

Performance management is more than filling out a performance review once a year. Effective and meaningful performance management promotes ongoing communication between a supervisor and employee, which establishes plans and criteria for success, as well as identifying successes and areas for improvement. More Resources: Performance Management and Performance Management and Evaluation.

Encouraging Teamwork and Work towards Conflict Resolution

  • Encourage effective teamwork.
  • Understands basic methods of resolving conflicts within the workplace.
  • De-escalate situations before they become crises.
  • Help resolve conflicts.
  • Gather appropriate input and/or participation from people involved in a conflict.
  • Makes decisions as needed to resolve the conflict.

Managing Inappropriate Behavior

  • Know the standards and expectations of appropriate workplace behavior.
  • Identify inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
  • Consistently and fairly address inappropriate behavior and seek help when needed.

Managing the Work

We are all here to get a job done, serving the University's larger mission. The University can not operate without it’s employees and as a supervisor, you have a special role in managing and supporting your area's work. This is accomplished by:

Resource and Budget Management

  • Make the most of your available resources.
  • Organize and prioritize resources to meet changing work demands.
  • Understand the University budgeting and accounting system and how it relates to your area budget.
  • Organize your own work and time to be able to meet needs of the staff and the organization.

Learn about University budgeting and accounting.

Goal Setting

  • Educate employees about how their roles serve the mission of the department, division and the University.
  • Develop relevant goals for your team and individual employees.
  • Develop work plans that meet desired goals.
  • Establish measures of performance as appropriate.

Delegation and Coordination

  • Know your employees' job descriptions.
  • Understand the basics processes of employees' work.
  • Effectively delegate work to employees.
  • Monitor and evaluate the employees' successful completion of the work.
  • Work collaboratively with others to analyze and improve work processes.

How have you delegated work in the past? What has helped you delegate work successfully? Delegating of work can help employees develop their skills by allowing them to take on new projects. Done well, delegating can be a win-win situation for everyone.

Managing The System

Managers are responsible for learning and knowing the University's systems. Although you do not need to know every part of the University, you should become familiar with the systems that are relevant to your area and its work. You can do this by:

Understanding Legal Issues and Campus Policies

  • Know the campus policies relevant to your position.
  • Implement campus policies appropriate to your position.
  • Seek assistance regarding campus policies when needed.

How to get the best from your employees

Video: Catherine Porter, Ombudsperson

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Practicing Risk Management

  • Understanding basic risk management procedures.
  • Recognize when something is beyond your responsibility or expertise and seeks appropriate help.

Definitions: General Risk Assessment Considerations

Risk type: Risk of danger to the employee or other members of the University community.


  • Operating equipment while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Credibly threatening or attacking other employees or other community members.
  • Condoning or allowing a hostile work environment (harassment).
  • Consistent failure to follow safety guidelines

Risk type: Risk of danger to the University due to legal liability or damage to its reputation.


  • Condoning or allowing a hostile work environment.
  • Not upholding federal or state legal mandates.
  • Not acting in compliance with applicable labor agreements.
  • Failure to take appropriate action to take action to enforce safety standards

Risk type: Risk of damage to the workplace or University property.


  • Knowledge of and application of safety practices.
  • Following accounting and money handling guidelines.
  • Securing workplaces to avoid theft of property.
  • Not taking appropriate steps to assure accurate reporting of time.

Steps to take to address the above situations:

  • Discuss with own supervisor and personnel staff.
  • Take immediate steps to avoid immediate danger.
  • Investigate as much as possible.
  • Consider employee’s work history.
  • Create complete documentation of events as soon as possible.
  • Follow contracts and policies.
  • Apply progressive discipline if needed.
  • Check with Campus Resources

Campus Resources

  • Human Resources, Labor Relations – 545-2736
  • Treasure’s Office, Risk Management & Insurance -587-2055
  • Office of the General Counsel,Legal Counsel – 545-2204

Understanding the dynamics of supervising in a unionized environment

  • Access the union contracts and follow the expectations for your position.
  • Know how to practice progressive discipline.
  • Understand the basics of the grievance process.

As a supervisor in a unionized environment, you should remember that supervisors and employees must adhere to the provisions of their respective collective bargaining agreements - their union contracts. Even though you may also be a unionized employee, when you are acting as a supervisor, you are an agent of the University.


Go back to strengths you listed at the beginning.

  1. How well do your strengths match the information above?
  2. What additional strengths do you bring to supervising?
  3. And in which areas might you want to grow and improve?


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