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What Could Your Supervisor Do to Help You Be More Effective at Work?

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An effective supervisor makes your job easier by providing clear guidance, relevant training opportunities and career development advice that coordinates with your career goals. The best supervisors recognize the value of communication, coaching, training and development on employee motivation. When you provide feedback to your supervisors, they can tailor their approach and help you work more effectively and efficiently.

Communication Engages Employees

A good supervisor both talks and listens. Employees work best when they receive clear direction. They must know what's expected of them. Supervisors should keep you informed about company expectations, performance goals, how close you are to achieving those goals and what opportunities exist to exceed those goals. Good communication isn't a one-way deal, though. You can help by providing feedback about your goals, plans and motivations. Your supervisors can then apply what they learn to keep you motivated and engaged.

Coaching Builds Employees

Communication shouldn't stop at your workstation and shouldn't only focus on throughput. Employees work effectively when they have confidence in their skills and capabilities. Supervisors should take the time to provide feedback and coaching designed to improve the quality of your work performance. Scheduling dedicated meeting times to coach employees makes it clear that a supervisor is making a time-based investment in their development.

Development Fosters Growth

While coaching is a continual process, career development planning occurs cyclically and has a longer-term focus. Supervisors who give this periodic activity the attention it deserves, rather than just going through the paces, can help employees grow, and growth builds confidence and effectiveness. When it's time for development planning, supervisors should sit down with you to review areas of responsibility, growth opportunities and training options. Tracking progress toward the plan should reveal some level of improved effectiveness.

Initiative Drives Growth

Supervisors can also help you be more effective by providing a sounding board for your ideas. For example, a supervisor might provide guidance and input when you explore opportunities to take on new roles or build new skills to enable further growth. Discuss current responsibilities and upcoming projects that require different skill sets and express your interest in them. Good supervisors can then help you explore options for developing or honing these skills, whether through formal training or on-the-job training.


A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.

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