It is a simple concept but one that is often forgotten: All good supervision is relational. 

Too often, we make supervision a mechanical matter - developing systems (not bad in itself), reports (nothing wrong with them) and accountability systems (always a good idea). But, it is easy to forget that in the end, a supervisor's influence with the staff they are responsible for comes down to relationship. The better the relationship the more effective the supervision.

Staff don't want to be treated mechanically but as individual people. Some say one should treat everyone the same. That is foolish: people are different and needed to be treated differently. Over the years I have supervised many wonderful individuals who are just that - individuals whose needs, situations and wiring were all different. My time and relationship with each was different because they were different. In addition, how much face time each needed with TJ were different.

Relationship means that a good supervisor talks face to face both formally and informally with staff. We care about our staff as individuals and know something about their work, their family and their lives. We ask questions about them, not just about their work. We manage by walking around and interacting. And when we meet formally we have a dialogue rather than a monologue.

The better the relationship with those we supervise, the more our influence because the best supervision is deeply relational. Relationships build trust and understanding, building blocks to developing engaged staff. 
  • Feb 06, 2014
  • Category: News
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