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.

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 competency skills in several areas:

Cultivate Self-Awareness

Cultivate an awareness of oneself as a supervisor/manager, and recognize one’s strengths and areas for development.


  • Understands role and responsibilities of supervisor/manager in context of the organizational environment.
  • Recognizes supervisory leadership strengths and areas for development. 
  • Understands own work style preferences and is able to work comfortably with own and other’s work style differences.  
  • Regularly solicits and uses feedback to further awareness of skills and competencies. 

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.

To explore other competencies that define Managing Self, see SLDP Compentencies [PDF].

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.

Core Competencies of Successful Managers:

Communicate Effectively and Openly

Use effective communication skills to create an environment in which open communication is fostered and information is readily shared.


  • Knows and is able to use effective communication skills. 
  • Uses active listening and feedback to enhance communication.  
  • Models, advocates for, supports, and empowers others in the open and timely exchange of information and views.
  • Matches communication message with appropriate communication method.
  • Shares information to relevant parties in timely way.
  • Expresses oneself clearly and appropriately through oral and written communication

Promote a Respectful and Inclusive Workplace

Promote a workplace culture where people understand, respect, and are open to differences and where diversity is leveraged to achieve the organization’s vision and mission.


  • Knows the characteristics of a respectful workplace and can create, model, and sustain respectful workplace behaviors.
  • Is aware of own social identities and the impact these identities have in their supervisory/management role.
  • Is aware of dimensions of diversity and models a commitment to them through action and language.
  • Conveys standards for appropriate workplace behavior and addresses inappropriate behavior in a consistent, equitable, and timely manner.-Is aware of employment discriminations laws and their application to the workplace. 

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.

Manage Performance

Actively encourage and monitor employee effectiveness in achieving job expectations.


  • Understands own role in performance management process.
  • Conveys excellent instructions, sets clear, stretching goals/ responsibilities that bring out the best work from people.
  • Provides employees with clarity about job expectations and delivers clear feedback about performance. Utilizes coaching to encourage, develop, and monitor employee effectiveness in achieving job expectations.
  • Conducts job performance meetings and implements evaluation in a timely manner

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.

To explore other competencies that define Managing Others, see SLDP Competencies [PDF].

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:

Achieve Department Mission

Develop and execute plans to achieve departmental mission, as well as organizational and operational goals.


  • Clarifies roles and responsibilities of staff: conveys clear expectations, monitors progress, and holds staff accountable for accomplishing goals and plans.
  • Develops and organizes work plans to accomplish organizational and operational goals.
  • Drives execution and ensures delivery of programs, projects, and functions in support of departmental mission.

Responsibly Steward Resources

Responsibly acquire and deploys resource (fiscal, physical, and human) in alignment with department and organization priorities.

  • Creates an organizational culture dedicated to service excellence with responsible stewardship.
  • Assumes fiscal responsibility for department and understands financial implications for decisions.
  • Secures and deploys resources (Information, time, money, staff) needed to accomplish plans.
  • Ensures that staffing patterns support organizational needs.

Learn about University budgeting and accounting.

To explore other competencies that define Managing the Work, see SLDP Competencies [PDF].

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:

Uphold Legal Requirements and Organizational Policies

Manage risks and requirements of applicable federal, state, and local laws and organizational policies.


  • Knows the laws and policies relevant to his/her/hir position.
  • Knows and enforces policies while supporting and advocating as needed.
  • Understands and acts accordingly with relevant contract provisions.
  • Knows, understands, and applies appropriate progressive discipline procedure. 

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?

To explore other competencies that define Managing the System, see SLDP Competencies [PDF].

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