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10 Supervisor Skills That Great Supervisors Must Have

Why Is it Important To Recognize Supervisory Skills & Their Benefits

Supervisory skills are incredible abilities to have, regardless of what type of employee you are. They are especially crucial if you are (or want to become) a boss or manager.

Individuals who can maintain strong supervisory skills often see more career opportunities, generate more revenue for their company, and are more satisfied with their work. However, many believe that becoming a great supervisor comes through putting in years of work.

Some say great supervisors are born, not made. However, these mindsets are flawed and negative. The truth is nearly anyone can acquire supervisory skills.

In this article, we will discuss how to acquire these useful abilities and why they are so crucial to your success.

What Are Supervisor Skills?

Although you may be tempted to dive into skill development immediately, it is crucial to thoroughly understand what supervisory skills are before building them.

In general, supervisory abilities are the skills that let managers (leaders, supervisors) succeed at their job. They help individuals communicate more efficiently, become better leaders, connect with team members on a deeper level, and much more.

Managers have a plethora of tasks they perform on a daily basis. Whether it be monitoring employee progress, explaining new projects, or trying to inspire employees, each of these tasks can be easier with the help of supervisory skills.

They allow the manager to put their best foot forward. Most supervisory skills are a type of soft skill. They are less technical and more difficult to acquire, but that does not mean it is an impossible task.

Why Is it Important To Recognize Supervisor Skills

It is important to recognize your strengths, no matter what they are. This principle also applies to acknowledging your supervisory skills.

Believe it or not, you probably already have some of these traits. It takes time to find and develop them, but it is nonetheless possible.

If you do decide to explore your supervisory skills and commit to further development, these are a few benefits you could gain:

  • Being viewed more positively by employees, thus creating a stronger employer/employee bond.
  • Boosting your leadership and decision-making skills.
  • Increasing efficiency and productivity, which leads to saved time.
  • Creating plans that are better aligned with your true goals, and accomplishing more of the goals you set for yourself.
  • Developing other crucial skills adjacent to supervision, such as communication and time management.
  • Inspiring future leaders and nurturing your team members to perform better than they thought possible.
  • Staying competitive in a highly adaptive market; retaining and building upon your competitive advantages.
  • Boosting your confidence, so you could also take calculated risks effectively.
  • Keeping teams focused, organized, and motivated, even when times get tough.
  • Creating a more positive company culture, that is both inclusive but competitive enough to drive progress.

10 Examples of Supervisory Skills

10 Key Supervisor Skills

Supervisory skills are a broad category of abilities. They encompass everything from how to organize teams most effectively, to how leaders encourage their teams. In general, to be a great supervisor, you should have many supervisory skills.

This allows you to truly master the skillset and have a diverse range of abilities, allowing you to stay efficient in many circumstances.

A few of the top supervisory skills include:

Written And Verbal Communication

No matter what type of leader you currently are or aspire to be, you will need strong communication skills. Communication abilities are what ultimately allow you to motivate your team, enforce roles, provide tasks, and much more.

However, communication is about so much more than just direct speech. It is also about being a great listener (using active listening skills) and writing in a persuasive as well as inspiring way.


With today’s work environments being influenced by technology and constantly changing, you need to know how to adapt. Without adapting, you will be stuck in the past.

This puts you at a disadvantage and causes your odds of success to diminish. Improving your adaptability also means being more flexible with employees at times. This reinforces a positive relationship and makes you seem fair.

Interpersonal Abilities And Connecting With Team Members

To truly be a great supervisor, you must be able to connect with your employees on a deep level. If you can use your interpersonal skills to do this, you can boost their motivation, create a stronger relationship, and increase your retention rate while decreasing turnover.

Be a positive individual and use empathy. Think about problems from others’ perspectives, not just your own. Stay friendly and open-minded, too.

Being a Skilled Decision Maker

As a supervisor, manager, or leader, you will need to make decisions as a part of your job. Most likely, you will be making dozens of decisions daily.

By increasing your ability to quick and accurate make choices, you will benefit both your career and the entire team’s success. Use critical thinking to compare potential options. Be focused when making decisions, and try not to let emotions get in the way of logical thinking.

Organization And Time Management

Both of these abilities are nearly universally useful. By preparing for your work ahead of time, you can accomplish more and meet your goals more quickly. In addition, you could also boost your efficiency and productivity by becoming more organized at work.

Ensure you have a clean desk and digital folders that are organized. Then, try to incorporate more schedules, planners, and to-do lists to boost your time management.

Being a Coach

There are numerous leadership styles that could benefit your team. One great way to encourage team development and boost motivation is by being a coach. Coaches are there for their teams when they need it. They are positive and inspiring.

Coaches will help their team members overcome core obstacles and offer their advice whenever possible. By being a coach, you might even learn something new from your team members.

A Positive And Growth Mindset

In life, positivity can go a long way in improving your relationships, career, and much more. Just thinking positively can help you stay motivated, achieve your goals, and avoid stress as well as anxiety, and it may even decrease your risk of physical illnesses like obesity.

As a leader, being positive will impact your entire team. They will be less likely to give up and more inspired as a result of your positivity. By using the growth mindset, you can help team members overcome challenges without losing their confidence.

Resolving Conflicts

No matter how friendly and cooperative your team is, you will inevitably face some conflicts. The key is controlling how you react to these conflicts. Some leaders will lash out and cause further tension.

Try to avoid doing this. Instead, try to find compromises that are mutually beneficial. Great leaders are able to de-escalate difficult situations so individuals can find rational ways to move forward.

Being a Team Player

Even as a manager, you should view yourself as a part of the team. You are, after all, essentially the captain of the ship. Become emotionally attached to your company and committed to your team.

Recognize why your work matters and how it impacts the rest of your team. Listen to employee inputs so that you can grow as a team member. Avoid acting like a dictator who only spouts orders. Instead, work cooperatively and assist team members when necessary.

Open-Minded And Willing To Learn

Even if you are a senior manager, there are always new things to learn. The more learning opportunities you take advantage of, the more you increase your supervisor skills. This will boost your career opportunities, satisfaction, and goal completion.

Learn from your employees, mentors, education opportunities, networking, and any other opportunity you get. Share your newly gained knowledge with employees. This may also encourage your team members to pursue skill development.

How To Identify & Master Supervisory Skills

How To Identify and Develop Supervisory Skills?

Now that you know the many different types of supervisory skills, and how they benefit your career, you are most likely interested in acquiring these abilities.

Many supervisors force potential supervisors to think acquiring these abilities is nearly impossible. They say it can only be accomplished through years of hard work, and only certain people are born natural leaders.

These statements are both false. While it does take work, almost anyone can build up supervisory skills. And, doing so does not even have to be timely or expensive. One of the most efficient ways to discover your existing supervisory abilities is by taking an online strengths test.

With so many different strength tests available, how do you know which is right for you? If you are seeking the top strengths test available, look no further than the HIGH5 strengths assessment.

The HIGH5 test will not only describe your current supervisory skills but will also depict your overall skill profile. If you are limited on time, rejoice: the test only takes  20 minutes. Plus, it is also free.

In addition to this, you could also evaluate your current and past leadership performances. Track your team’s efficiency compared to other teams. When you use a certain strategy, does your team become more productive? If so, you are more likely to apply a supervisory skill at that point.

While this strategy can assist you in identifying your supervisory abilities, it also takes more time and you may be inaccurate.

How To Improve Supervisory Skills in The Workplace?

Even if you already have highly developed supervisory skills, there is always room for improvement. Consistently re-evaluating your skills and improving your workplace abilities gives you an advantage over many leaders. It boosts efficiency, productivity, goal achievement, and much more. But, what is the best way to improve work abilities?

First, you should realize the strength-based approach is best for skill development. Try not to stress over converting your supervisory weaknesses into strengths. This is inefficient and may result in you giving up on skill development altogether. Instead, try to use your existing strengths in new ways and more often.

For example, try volunteering for more group activities. Be the coach you know you can be. Ensure you are always there for your employees when they need help, and keep your communication lines open.

Try to learn from both mentors and employees. Distribute your knowledge to everyone on the team as well. Be confident in using your skills, and do not be afraid to use them more often than you do now.

Finally, try to address some of the easier-to-acquire skills first. The way you are organized, for example, is easier to control than a skill like communication. Prepare ahead of time when you have deadlines. Keep your workplace tidy, too, and encourage employees to do the same.

How To Highlight Supervisory Skills In Resume & Job Interview?

After working hard to develop and improve your skills, the next step in skill development is to show off your newly gained skills. One way to do this is to include your skills on your resume and during interviews. It seems simple: just list your skills on a resume, and include supervision. But, it turns out to be a bit more complex.

If all you do on your resume is list your skills without context, virtually no interviewer will believe you have these abilities. Instead, you need to provide proof that you truly process these skills. Try to be specific in supporting your skill statements.

For example, use statistics that prove how under your leadership, positive customer feedback for your team increased by 25%. You can typically include your skills within descriptions for your prior jobs.

When it comes to the interview, use some of the guidelines outlined above. Ensure that when claiming you have a skill, you have some proof to present to the interviewer. Be as specific as you can. Ensure you highlight how you’re using your skills to benefit the entire team.

This makes you seem team-oriented. Plus, try to draw parallels between how your skills helped your last team and how your abilities would benefit the new employer. Specify which particular supervisory ability you used, too.

Related: 26 Supervisor Interview Questions with Answers & How To Prepare

What Are Differences Between Soft & Hard Supervisor Skills?

Skills can generally be categorized into two groups: soft and hard. The same is true with supervisor skills. Having a balance of both these abilities is crucial to being successful as a manager.

Soft skills are the traits and abilities that are related to personality traits. They are not technical and are typically more difficult to acquire than technical skills. This is so because it is usually tough to teach someone how to acquire a soft skill.

These skills help you succeed in your work as a manager. Some examples of supervisory soft skills include empathy, interpersonal skills, decision-making, positivity, organization, and more.

Hard skills are technical abilities or education. They are often easier to learn than soft skills. They are the prerequisites to be able to perform a certain job. However, technical skills could also be certificates, networking experience, and so on.

They do not only have to be technology-related, either. Some examples of hard supervisory skills are data analysis, knowing how to use software, networking experience, a business degree, research skills, and more.

Supervisor Skills FAQ

What Skills Should a Supervisor Have?

Supervisors need to have a wide range of skills to be successful. One of the most important skills for supervisors is being able to mitigate and avoid conflicts. Conflicts are inevitable in any business and can hold back even the best teams.

Avoiding them is great for team efficiency. Supervisors should also be adaptable. The work environment is constantly changing, and those that stagnate often fall behind their competition. In addition, great supervisors are willing to help their employees as coaches.

Organization, time management, openness to learning, positivity, communication, and decision-making skills are all also important for supervisors.

What Are the 5 Roles of a Supervisor?

Supervisors are often expected to have multiple roles within their organization. The first is the educator role. They must be able to help their team members and expose them to new knowledge, as a true educator does. Great supervisors are also sponsors.

They help their team members acquire skills that may be used outside of their current job, too. This role is about maximizing an employee’s potential. Next, they must also be coaches, meaning they encourage and motivate their employees, even in tough times.

Coaches serve as inspiration to employees. When an employee experiences difficulty at work (due to conflict, personal issues, or something else), great supervisors act as counsel and encourage them to find solutions.

Finally, the last role of the supervisor is that of a director. If employees continue to make the same mistakes, directors take action and may provide consequences or fire the employee.

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