• Nancy Riopel

The Balancing Act When You're In a Supervisory Role

Whether you are a frontline supervisor or a higher-level manager, your role will include supervising others, and doing so effectively, while trying to balance all of your other duties. Priorities are not always evident, so balancing the demands from your direct manager and the needs from your direct reports can be confusing, and even overwhelming at times.

Here are 4 ways to help you achieve more of balance:

  • Figure out what’s due first and focus on it. For example, write the report that’s due tomorrow.

  • Hold regular meetings with your employees to clarify expectations, provide and overview of anything that may be pressing, and answer any questions.

  • Provide hands-on coaching to new staff members so they understand what the role involves and your expectations.

  • Work one-to-one with the employee who is not performing up to standards so they feel supported.

As a supervisor, one of the most important things you can do is learn which activities have the most impact on the most important results. What you choose depends on the expectations that your supervisor has set for you, and the pressure you feel to accomplish all of your tasks and duties.

But it’s not that simple…

Your role is ultimately achieving results through other people. To do this effectively, what I’ve experienced has been helpful is that you compartmentalize your duties/role. See your supervisor duties as separate from your administrative duties. Some supervisors find it helpful to spend half of their time in a day on employee priorities and the other half on their administrative duties.

It’s not uncommon for supervisors to feel that they have to put that report first, and maybe they do, but managing and balancing expectations is key when you are in a leadership position.

Remember as the supervisor your job is to:

  • set clear expectations

  • provide the supports and resources to allow employees to meet the expectations

  • monitor performance

  • set performance improvement goals

  • train, coach, and mentor employees so they can achieve those goals

  • help employees build relationships with co-workers and other departments

  • recognize and help resolve conflict between co-worker and departments

  • provide information to your supervisor about any challenges your team/crew/department is facing in terms of meeting their goals

  • advocate for the resources or supports necessary

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