Supervisor Solutions

Self-Reflection is Key to Being an Excellent Supervisor

Immanuel Kant once said, “Man is distinguished above all animals by his self-consciousness...”. Applying this philosophical thought in the workplace, more specifically to supervising, we must use self-reflection as an active and continuing thought process, focusing on self-awareness and constant evaluation of how our values match (or not) with our behaviors.

To be effective managers of the business it is vital to utilize self-reflection consistently and thoughtfully. But first, what is self-reflection? defines it as:

  1. The act of reflecting or the state of being reflected.
  2. An image; representation; counterpart.
  3. A fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.
  4. A thought occurring in consideration or mediation.
  5. An unfavorable remark or observation.

We will focus on the third definition for the purposes of this article: “A fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.” With that said, what self-reflection entails is honest inventory, a fixing of our thoughts on the impact of our words and actions to those with whom we interact. The benefits of Self-Reflection include the following:


Self-awareness incorporates our ability to read and comprehend our own emotions and their effect on others. We then begin to develop a keen sense of our strengths, as well as limits, which in turn help us to develop a clear understanding of our capabilities.


Through clarity of our strengths and limits we are able to hone our ability to self-manage. This includes emotional self-control and the ability to adapt to changes that arise in the workplace, as well as deal with complex, and ambiguous situations without taking it personal.

Personal Leadership Competency

Consistency, transparency, exhibiting honesty and integrity, lead to developing trust with peers and staff, which results in personal leadership competency. Consequently, we become more engaged, passionate, and take on a positive outlook and see opportunities whereas before we may have seen only obstacles.

Social Competency

As supervisors you must be able to manage individual relationships. When you practice self-reflection you begin to observe yourself on how well you display understanding, relating to others and their view, and showing concern for their position. Not only do you connect with your team but you have a perceptive read on the climate of the organization, understanding why decisions are made and maintaining an awareness of organizational dynamics.

The above mentioned benefits are results from taking the time to reflect. More specifically, it is about being honest with yourself—and then acting on that honesty, whether it entails apologizing, communicating more effectively to staff on decisions that are made, recognizing that you may be acting on personal irritation instead of behavior when in conflict with an employee, or that you could increase expressing kudos.

Ultimately, it is the self-aware supervisor who recognizes their impact on their work culture. Take the time to find a quiet place at the end of the work day, or in the evening, and for 15 minutes consider how your day went; honestly. Other techniques include journaling or free writing, exercise, inspirational reading and learning, and coaching. And make strives to make amends to those whom you could have had a better interaction with. Striving to create a healthy work environment is every supervisor’s responsibility, but you must start with yourself first.

Recommended Workshops

Professional Development offers classes that can help with specific skills to improve your mental clarity.

Communicating with Success

During this workshop, we will explore basic communication issues. By the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  • Define the three communication modes.
  • Cite barriers to effective communication.
  • Explain the concept of distinct communication styles.
  • Define active listening.
  • Use active listening techniques.
  • Define non-verbal communication issues.
  • Use non-verbal techniques to improve workplace communication.

Dates and Times:
Monday, April 01, 2013, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Managing Staff Conflict

As a leader, you doubtless encounter conflict among your front line staff members. Unproductive conflict can cause significant problems if not addressed effectively. By the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • Recognize the myths of conflict.
  • Identify the three stages of conflict.
  • Establishing a climate of cooperation and support.
  • Identify techniques to manage staff conflict.
  • Develop an effective personal conflict management strategy.
  • Recognize the emotional aspects of conflict.
  • Apply conflict management techniques in work situations.
  • Decide when to intervene in staff conflicts.
  • Reduce instances of manipulative behavior.

Dates and Times:
Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Monday, May 20, 2013, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Teamwork in a Changing Place

Why bother with teamwork? After all, isn't it simpler to just do your job and not worry about what anyone else is doing? During this workshop we will explore just why working together as a team is so important to the success of the University as well as your personal success.
By the end of the session, you will be able to:

  • Understand why change happens.
  • Understand who is responsible for change.
  • Deal with the four phases of change.
  • Examine behaviors that are obstacles to change.
  • Understand why teams have become so important to American companies.
  • Demonstrate your understanding of the four stages of team development.
  • Understand how to deal with challenges to your team's communication.
  • Understand how to cope with conflicts in your team.
  • Choose to take the initiative through supporting the team.
  • Take responsibility and take action.

Dates and Times:
Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Topic of the Month Archives

Goal Setting, December 2012
Communication Tips for a Diverse Workforce, November 2012
Managing Morale in Difficult Times, October 2012
Dealing With Change, September 2012
Managing Change in the Workplace, August 2012
Giving Effective Feedback!, June/July 2012
When Everything Seems to be a Priority!, May 2012
Are Meetings Wasting Participants' Time?, April 2012
Road Map for New Supervisors, March 2012
Getting to Know Your Employees, February 2012
Performance Evaluations and JAQs, January 2012
Preparing and Conducting Performance Evaluations, December 2011
Team Communication and the Huddle, Fall 2011
Perspectives of Leadership, May/June 2011
Integrity, April 2011
First Steps for New Supervisors, March 2011
Workplace Conflict, February 2011
Reflect and Resolve, Dec 2010/Jan 2011
Workplace Stress, Nov. 2010
Communication Skills, Sept./Oct. 2010

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The Topic of the Month is designed to provide additional information for Supervisors that will assist them in their leadership role. For those who have completed or are currently attending SuperVision training, these articles will supplement the knowledge already gained from attending that program.

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Last Modified: December 23, 2013
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