Guiding the work involves taking the direction of the organization and translating it into actionable plans for the work group. 

The supervisor’s view of work must be broader than that of his or her employees. Being an effective supervisor means understanding the bigger picture, which includes the goals of the organization (Thompson, 1995). This is not always an easy feat for a supervisor, particularly a new one, whose perspective has been focused on the needs of a work group. But, the direction of the group must be supportive of the organization.

If it were just a simple matter of carrying out the direction of the organization, perhaps guiding the work would be a relatively easy task for a supervisor. But, giving direction and having it carried out successfully are not the same thing. The supervisor must be able to guide his or her work group toward organizational goals in such a way that employees know their needs are not being ignored or forsaken.

One of the employees’ real needs is direction. The supervisor’s employees will look to him or her for guidance on a daily basis because the supervisor is the main link to management. Acting decisively is important (Barnhart, 1988). This may not always be comfortable, particularly for a new supervisor, but failure to act is one of the factors that leads to unsuccessful supervision (Bilanich, 1994).

Planning the work flows naturally from following the direction of the organization. Without the specific commitment to action plans, understanding the goals of the organization and being motivated to carry them out does no good. Plans are necessary to translate intentions into actions.

In our next blog, we will dig into the second of five key skills effective supervisors need to develop: Organizing the Work


supervisory-skillsSupervisors are the vital link between your organization and its work groups. Get your supervisors in gear and ready for performance with the Supervisory Skills Questionnaire.

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