If you want to be a better supervisor, you need to know what employees are looking for when they consider working for you.
In the best interviews, the questions and evaluations take place on both sides of the table. They’re interviewing you as much as you’re interviewing them.
There’s usually a lot of pressure to fill an empty position. You’re focused on your needs: what you need to accomplish, how this person will perform, and how they’ll work in your culture and with your team.
Meanwhile, your staff is probably anxious to fill a gap and get some of the extra work they’re doing back where it belongs and off their overloaded plates.
That’s a lot of pressure to find someone and plug the hole.
But a good fit is critical, especially if you don’t want to be recruiting again in a few months.
If you ask candidates what makes a good supervisor, two key responses come up consistently, regardless of the particular position or the level of responsibility: 1. Keep your door open and 2. Give me guidance, then turn me loose.
It’s how we all want to be treated.
1. Keep your door open.
We want to know that someone’s there who is vested in our success. Supervisors communicate that by being available, answering questions, helping us see the pitfalls and hurdles before we stumble, and being our advocates and mentors. You can’t do this from behind a closed door.
2. Give me guidance, then turn me loose.
We crave autonomy, but we hate to find out we’ve been wasting our time heading down the wrong path. Don’t micromanage me, but don’t let me get so far off track that we’re in crisis mode cleaning up something that could have been prevented with decent communication. Hence the open door.
Easy to do? Yes, when we’re relaxed, open, and not rushed. But the reality of our work world today is that we have to deliberately carve out the time (and intention) to meet these two basic needs.
If we’re overloaded, rushing from meeting to meeting, or locked in our office trying to manage an overload of deadlines and responsibilities, it’s hard to open the door. It can also feel hard not to micro-manage (or ignore) our colleagues when the stress is getting to us.
With January just around the corner, maybe this is a good time to set some new year’s goals for your supervisors and yourself.
Just these two actions can go a long way to keeping solid relationships with the people in your work life.
What else do you think employees want?
And what do you plan to focus on next year?