Weekend Poll Results: What You Really Think About Supervising Other Staff

With thanks to all who participated, here are your responses to my question … Do you have supervisory responsibilities?

 More than 60% of you supervise other employees

… and 35% of those of you who do so have responsibility for four or more colleagues. Whether you supervise one employee, or eight, it consumes time and energy. In fact, the vacuum effect upon your time was one of the top two challenges you identified for supervisors.


But do they respect you?

Inheriting and influencing staff members who were hired by someone else, or who are reluctant to acknowledge your role as supervisor, is another challenge.


HR and management education will help you

Anyone who’s been in these shoes before can appreciate the leadership and communication skills required for such a mandate, particularly when you’re leading a group with personality clashes. Such clashes, by the way, were the challenge most often identified by respondents to this weekend’s poll.

While 38% of the supervisors who responded sought out their own professional development to enhance their supervisory capacities, 56% of you said that either your current or past employers provided you such training. A total of 76% of the supervisors who responded consider themselves qualified for that responsibility.

How can the remaining 24%, and those aspiring to such responsibilities, build the skill sets and develop the confidence to deal with such challenges? Management and HR certification/training topped the list of recommended approaches. Working on our own communications, and on conflict resolution skills, are specific steps you identified.


Financial compensation

That’s right. 67% of you who supervise staff reported that you find that having supervisory responsibilities has a positive impact on your job classification and compensation. When I asked supervisors to identify what they enjoy about the supervisory role, it was opportunities to develop talent, share expertise and positively impact the success of the group that people most frequently noted.


But do you like being supervisors?

Read through the data, and you’ll see where the majority of supervisors landed on a scale of 1 (actively dislike it) to 5 (thoroughly enjoy it)!



Do your responsibilities include supervision of other employees?

  • Yes: 65% of respondents
  • No: 30% of respondents
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented that they’d supervised trainees and administrators assisting on special projects.

Next, I asked people how many staff they supervised. Here are the results, expressed as percentages of respondents.

  • Two: 22% of respondents
  • Three: 22% of respondents
  • One: 14% of respondents
  • Seven: 14% of respondents
  • Four: 7% of respondents
  • Five: 7% of respondents
  • Eight: 7% of respondents
  • 7% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “2 -3 yearly”.

Have you secured education/training to support your success as a supervisor ?

  • 50% of respondents: Yes; this was provided by my employer
  • 25% of respondents: No; I’ve sorted out on my own how to supervise others
  • 13% of respondents: Yes; I sought this out myself
  • 6% of respondents: Yes; this was provided through a previous employer
  • 6% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented that this was not applicable.

If you supervise others & work in a union environment, are you in the same bargaining unit as those you supervise?

  • Yes: 43% of respondents
  • No: 14% of respondents
  • 43% of respondents selected “Other”. Their comments included, “to some degree”, “not applicable” and “Employees are free to choose their own union. Some are in the same as me some not”.

Have you found a corelation between whether or not you supervise staff & your salary/job classification?

  • 67% of respondents: Yes; there’s a positive impact if you have supervisory responsibilities
  • 33% of respondents: No; there’s been no such corelation in my experience

I asked readers to identify some challenging aspects of supervising other staff. You’ll want to note that a fortunate 6% of respondents selected the “None; I’ve not encountered any challenges” option. For 94% of respondents, though, there were some common themes. I’ve categorised responses in themes below. Personality clashes and investments of time required as a supervisor received the most mentions.

  • Personality clashes / Disagreements between staff
  • Depending on staff, it can be so time consuming that your other work suffers / Time commitment / Impact on time for initial induction & training, and again when issues arise & standard (insufficient space for respondent’s full thought to be expressed; note that you can also click on “Leave a Comment” at the top of any article to comment in as much detail as you wish)
  • Influencing them / Getting people to acknowledge your supervision / There is some lack of buy in from my team, as there was a restructure in the department which gave me the supervisory role and being relatively new to the company, there is a reluctance from others to see me as a supervisor and to do as I request. it is taking time to work through this; but hopefully will get there eventually
  • Acting as a buffer between a PA and an executive
  • Inheriting staff hired by others
  • Communication styles between yourself and others
  • Confidence / My level of confidence / Not feeling I’m strong enough/confident enough for certain discussions
  • Problematic when supervising people in the same union
  • Training in areas with which I’m unfamiliar
  • Varying engagement levels of those you supervise

On a scale of 1 (actively dislike it) to 5 (thoroughly enjoy it), please categorise your experience as a supervisor.

  • 1 (actively dislike it): 7% of respondents
  • 2: 7% of respondents
  • 3: 33% of respondents
  • 4: 33% of respondents
  • 5 (thoroughly enjoy it): 20% of respondents

I also asked what you enjoy about your supervisory role, and listed some response options as well as providing the opportunity to identify other factors. Just over 2% of respondents selected the response, “N/A; I don’t enjoy much about the responsibility”. Here’s what you do enjoy, in descending order of frequency of mentions.

  • Opportunity to help develop talent 
  • Opportunity to share expertise
  • Opportunity to positively impact the success of our group
  • Opportunity to positively impact our environment
  • Opportunity to stretch my skills
  • Potential for career growth

Do you consider yourself qualified to supervise others?

  • Yes: 76% of respondents
  • No: 24% of respondents

Lastly, in the spirit of sharing the benefit of experience, I asked readers what professional development/education you’d recommend to someone with supervisory responsibilities. Here’s what you said, again clustered in themes.  Human Resources and Management course work/qualifications came out as the most frequently mentioned recommendation, followed by leadership training and then communications skills and conflict resolution training.

  • HR and Management credit (post-secondary) courses / Management qualifications/ Understanding of HR & equality issues
  • Leadership training / team leadership skills / first time manager training / People management skills
  • Communication skills
  • Conflict resolution training
  • Knowing the company/ Understanding the employer’s corporate structure, internal & external affairs…
  • Negotiating skills
  • Decision making
  • Turn to your networks/ Turn to other supervisors and your HR department

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: