Supervisory Leadership

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Wally Bock Answers Your
Supervisory Leadership Question

How does a middle manager prevent or correct abusive behavior and identify problems among the supervisors?

The answer is good supervision, which is just as much the manager's job as it is the supervisor's. It's the one-on-one part of leadership.

One key is that the company should be evaluating the supervisory on his/her supervisory work. That includes two things: how well the supervisor's team accomplishes the mission; and, how well the supervisor cares for his/her people.

If the system is in place to do that then the manager can do the following things.

Set clear expectations with the manager about what is expected along both of those dimensions. What are the performance targets? The development targets? And, critically, how do you expect the supervisor to behave?

The manager needs to show up a lot. Being around the supervisor and the troops is the most effective way there is to know and be known.

The manager needs to give the supervisor feedback on how he/she is doing. If either performance or behavior are unacceptable, the manager needs to give notice, document and discipline if necessary.

There must be clear and candid communication about expectations and about the performance or behavior that's being evaluated. Supervisors that prove they can't or won't either deliver performance targets or conform to behavioral norms should be fired.

Wally

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