10 Attributes of Successful Supervisors



asphalt successful supervisorsWhen asked about the toughest part of a job, there is one answer that stands above the rest: dealing with people. Employees often get frustrated or annoyed with their job because of the people around them. These interpersonal problems can lead to the downfall of the hierarchal system within a company.

To better explain how to build work relationships and supervise employees at all levels, Larry Kokklenberg, of Leath Group, LLC  provided 10 simple guidelines for effective supervision.

1. Build trust
There are very few relationships, work, personal or anything in between, that can survive without trust. Kokklenberg says that trust is the foundation for all positive and sustained relationships and that these relationships are vitally important if a team wants to perform at a high level.

When looking at behavior that helps build trust, Kokklenberg said that communication, consistency and leading by example are all important behaviors. On the contrary, poor communication, lack of integrity and lack of reliability were listed as behaviors that hurt trust within a company.

2. Manage by influence, not power 
An important distinction to make between power and influence, Kokklenberg said, is that power is the authority or right to give orders and make decisions, while influence is the ability to positively affect ideas and actions. Furthermore, an autocratic top-down model of employment can hurt a business if not handled correctly. Rather than increasing your power, grow your influence by being knowledgeable, respectful, caring and flexible.

3. Create a culture of appreciation
As simple as it sounds, “thank you” goes a long way. Saying thank you costs nothing and gives more than you expect in return. 76 percent of employees say that being recognized by their superiors motivates them in their job. Kokklenberg says that after being more personable with your staff, acknowledging all extra efforts and thanking people for their work every day, the culture of the company will become more positive in 30 days. 

4. Be fair and just
No employee should be treated differently, better or worse, than another. Being impartial, unprejudiced and simply fair will show everyone that they are all as equally important and will help build trust and morale within the company.

5. Be respectful
This is an easy one. Would you rather have a boss that is considerate, caring and patient or one that is harsh, abrupt and difficult? When people fear or dislike their superiors, they are constantly stressed or tense about their work situation, which also negatively affects their work.

6. Be a role model
Whether you like it or not, being a boss also makes you a role model by default and being a role model comes with responsibilities. Manage yourself in a positive manner and live by your own values and the values of the company. In return, your employees will respect you and trust that the company is in good hands.

7. Be helpful
Understand that people will come to you for help and advice; boss is synonymous to teacher in this respect. One of the responsibilities of being a boss is to help make everyone else’s jobs easier. Give instructions, feedback and advice to help develop people and their skills.

8. Be positive
Everything you do will reflect back on your staff – your attitude is highly contagious. Positive supervisors will breed positive employees and positive employees tend to do great work for their company.

9. Build the team
Every company or business is one large team. Work gets done by the entire team, never by just one person. Build a collaborative mindset by encouraging cooperation and helpfulness and always reiterating the teamwork aspect of the workplace. In return, you’ll get employees that not only work well together, but enjoy doing so.

10. Link work to a higher purpose
Kokklenberg encouraged everyone to not give people jobs, but to give them a purpose. Be sure to always link your work to your mission statement. This will encourage employees to work for the good of the company instead of working for a paycheck.

About the Expert

Larry Kokklenberg, PHD is an Executive Consultant at Leath Group, LLC. Larry has a passion for driving organizational and cultural change, and helping organizations achieve higher performance through careful analysis of decades of research. Larry was a featured presenter at World of Asphalt 2019. 

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