Providing Supervision: Successful or Stressful?

Effective supervision provides individuals with a supportive framework in which to learn, develop and succeed in their roles; increasing productivity for organisations. However, providing supervision can be challenging and requires additional skills which are often overlooked, meaning many new supervisors feel ill-equipped and lack the ability to effectively fulfil the role.

Individuals are often, deservedly, promoted into supervisory roles due their level of knowledge and skills in their profession, yet many are not provided with the training and support to develop into effective supervisors, with the staggering estimation that up to 2.4 million individuals in the UK have progressed into supervisory or management roles accidentally, without adequate training (REC, 2019).

Research shows that supervisors and other first line management have the most influence on staff performance and engagement (ACAS, 2016) and poor supervision and management can often result in:

  • Reduced effectiveness in roles

  • Impeded levels of professional development

  • Breakdown of relationships and workplace conflict

  • Avoidance of identifying and resolving problems

  • Lost opportunities for reflection and learning

  • Increase in work related stress and associated absences

  • Reduced staff retention and ongoing recruitment costs

So how can you ensure your organisation reaps the benefits of confident and effective sup


  • Ensure adequate additional time is provided for those with supervisory responsibilities.

  • Discuss with prospective and current supervisors the challenges they face and concerns they may have. What would they suggest it would be helpful to have in place?

  • Provide additional supervision related to their supervisory role.

  • Ensure adequate additional time is provided for those with supervisory responsibilities.

  • Provide training for new and existing supervisors to equip them with evidence-based interpersonal and management skills, enhancing performance and wellbeing in the workplace.

Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) (2019)

ACAS (2016) Managing People Guidance 2016: available from

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