A debut compendium offers tips for employee supervisors.
Early on in her book, organizational and human resources consultant Sever makes a key distinction: “Supervision is a part of management, but it is not the same thing….Similarly, leadership is a part of supervision, but it is not the same thing.” Management involves broader issues than just personnel, and leadership can occur throughout an organization. But supervision, writes Sever, is specifically the management of people. With this notion driving the singular concept of the book, the author keeps her laser focus on the ups, downs, and intricacies of supervision and the interrelationships of these particular managers with their teams. Twelve chapters key into a supervisor’s major areas of responsibility. For example, “How You Act” addresses trust, power, taking action, communication, bad versus good practices, kindness, and self-discipline. “How You Are Part of the Organization” reveals important lessons about the role of the supervisor, including intriguing insights into office culture, the importance of policies, and bullies in the workplace. Each chapter is broken into short, discrete segments (the common-sensical book’s subtitle aptly refers to them as “bite-sized ideas”) that are a breeze to read but are riddled with observations and advice based on experience. Sidebars highlight examples and on-the-job scenarios to bring relevancy to the text. “A Sample Coaching Conversation,” for instance, illustrates how a supervisor helps an employee problem-solve a missed deadline while “Approaching Conflict: Ten Steps” enumerates and describes actions to take to reduce the negative effects of conflict. Particularly helpful are the occasional interspersed “Coaching Corner” snippets in which the author poses thought-provoking questions to engage readers. A cleverly structured Appendix classifies sections of the volume by reading time based on word count. But, an index, which is missing, would have been useful in locating the sections by page number. Sever’s contention is “the role of supervision is hugely underappreciated in most organizations.” This handy guide is an effective antidote to that unfortunate attitude.
Punchy, concise, and reality-based; provides solid ground for the concept of supervision and should act as a day-to-day manual for both veterans and novices.