Are you becoming a great supervisor?

Do you want to be a great first-line supervisor? If your answer is yes, then it might be helpful for you to know what one acts like and feels like. Our description of a great first-line supervisor is based on research, our own experiences as a supervisor and someone supervised and what we have been told in the many training events we have conducted with people transitioning into supervisor and new supervisors learning their craft.
Our great first-line supervisor has six essential characteristics or clusters of behavior. They are:
  1. They successfully meet the important needs of the organization for which they work; the team members they direct; and the customers they serve.
  2. They are noted for their high ethical behavior and work ethic.
  3. They show signs of developing or have key leadership skills, particularly a clear vision, empowerment of team members, and persistence in moving toward their vision.
  4. They strongly believe in and follow the Golden Rule and actually” do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
  5. They are committed to life long learning and are constantly looking for ways to improve themselves, team members and the work of the team.
  6. People trust them.
If you want to be a great first-line supervisor, here is the target to which you aim. As you can see, the standard for being a great first-line supervisor is high. But with hard work and commitment, you can be this person in your world of work. So, go for it!


Here are 20 questions you can answer to help you plot where you now are with regard to being a great first-line supervisor. You are doing a self-assessment. If you want to validate your point of view or see how it might differ from others, you can have your boss and your staff complete this assessment for you as well. This information will provide benchmark data on what you may need to work on to become better.




1.   I understand, specifically, what the organization expects of me.
2.   I meet each and every expectation the organization has for me.
3.   I have a clear picture of what my employees expect from me.
4.   I meet each and every need of my team members.
5.   I recognize what our customers want from my team.
6.   We meet the needs of our customers.
7.   My behavior as seen by others is considered very ethical.
8.   I pride myself as being honest in what I say and do.
9.   Others would classify me as a hard worker.
10.  With regard to work rules and work hours, I model the behavior expected of my staff.
11.  It is clear to me and my team the direction we need to go to add value to the organization.
12.  I give my team members freedom to solve problems, make decisions and meet their performance expectations.
13.  Obstacles are just challenges to me and I overcome them.
14.  I treat all people with respect and dignity.
15.  I am sensitive to the needs of others.
16.  I am also learning new things related to what I do.
17.  Our team constantly is looking for ways to improve and find a better way of doing things.
18.  My instinct is to trust other people.
19.  Others I deal with trust me.
20.  Excellence is not a slogan, it is our constant target and goal.
TOTAL POINTS                                                 

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Now you can compare your answers and scores. The best score you could have is 100 points. The worst score would be 20 points. Where did you come out? Which of the 20 behaviors of a great supervisor received the best or highest scores. Which of the behaviors received the lowest scores? What do you plan to do to become even a better first-line supervisor in the future? Good luck! You can get there!


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