Management Skills Needed for a Healthcare Supervisor


ManagementSkills Needed for a Healthcare Supervisor

Table of Contents

Introduction 2

Management functions of supervisors 3

Essential supervisory skills 3

Qualities of an effective supervisor 5

Interviewing skills for prospective employees 6

Focus on team leadership 6

of management skills for supervisors in healthcare 7

Conclusion 8

References 9

ManagementSkills needed for a Healthcare Supervisor


Asupervisor is an employee who oversees the activities of otheremployees who do the hands-on work(McConnell, 2011).A first-line supervisor in any field including healthcare personallydirects and co-ordinates the activities that other employees in adepartment or the whole organization to achieve the overalldepartmental and organizational objectives. When an employee acceptsa supervisory position, they literally adopt a second career. As longas they are in-charge of particular collective and individualresponsibilities in any healthcare organization, they must remainactive current in their present and primary career. The presentcareer is the supervisory role they play while the primary career isthe professional career as a healthcare professional. Moving into asupervisory role in a healthcare institution means that one has toperform activities that are related to other employees in adepartment. Supervising entails (p.331):

  1. Establishing new relationships with fellow members of staff and former peers

  2. Regarding everyone in the department or organization equally

  3. Establishing credibility by acting in a professional and competent manner

  4. Making and managing the transition from being a doer to being a leader. Sometimes it may be necessary to be a doer to serve as an example.

  5. Identifying with both the senior management of the organization and the work group. Leaning towards one side yields negative results.

  6. Establish a cooperative working relationship with supervisors of other departments in the organization and other members of management.

ManagementFunctions of Supervisors

Supervisorsare basically managers and their functions are similar. They corefunctions of supervisors are(Westberg &amp Jason, 2013):

Planning:A supervisor is responsible for all the actions to be executed by theother employees under them. It entails setting goals and objectivesand the strategies to achieve them.

Organizing:They assign each employee responsibilities they are best qualified toplay or establishing working groups if as a structural approach toachieve certain objectives.

Directing:A supervisor instructs, oversees, and guides other employees intotowards achieving set objectives.

Controlling:They set the benchmarks of performance and behavior that are alignedwith the long-term objectives of the organization.

Coordinating:They ensure that all employees and structural and functional systemsof department or the organization work harmoniously towards achievingthe overall organizational goals and objectives.

EssentialSupervisory Skills

Communication:For a supervisor to communicate effectively, they must understand thework habits, individual preferences, and the learning styles ofemployees working under them. Understanding employees enablessupervisors to covey the intended information in a precise manner.

Employeemotivation- a supervisor should be able to motivate employees byreinforcing their positive behaviors, responding promptly tobehavior, and apply subjective motivational skills that are relevantto each employee. They should the employees under them with everyconsideration.

Problemsolving and decision making- A supervisor should be able to apply thebasic steps of problem solving and decision making. They stepsinclude: identifying the problem, gathering information about theproblem, analyzing the information and placing it into feasiblealternatives, choosing the best alternative, implement the chosenalternative, and make follow-up on the implementation process.

Timemanagement: Without some rationale for approaching work in a mannerconsistent with its necessity, tasks of lesser significance takesdisproportionate amounts of time while more important tasks arehandled too quickly or not at all. A supervisor should have theability to plan and set priorities so as to utilize time moreefficiently particularly by setting deadlines on set objectives.

Delegation:a supervisor should understand the rules governing delegation inhealthcare. Delegation seeks to help employees under a supervisor tolearn and grow in dispensing services. Failure to delegateeffectively holds them back. Delegation builds a department andorganization by building individuals. A Continued practice ofeffective delegation within a department represents opportunity tothe employees.

Careerdevelopment: There are two skills that a supervisor should possess:be able to design a personal learning schedule for employees so thattheir productivity and professionalism keep improving, and craft astrategic succession plan based on continuous learning, seeking newopportunities, and taking risks that intend to contribute moredepartmental and organizational goals.

Qualitiesof an Effective Supervisor

Asupervisor needs to posses certain desirable qualities that arenecessary to complement the skills discussed above: A supervisorshould be:

Self-confident:To be able to solve problems, a supervisor should believe in theirprofessional and natural ability to do so.

Respectfulof others: Respect is the basis of understanding one another.Understanding then fosters effective communication.

Goodhumored: Humor establishes a rapport between the supervisor andemployees. Employees would perceive the supervisor as one of them.However, it should not be overdone, but remain within work limits.

Ableto make decisions: The core functions of a supervisor are embedded intheir natural and professional ability to make sound decisions.Departmental and organizational goals should be the yardstick ofsound decision making.

Flexibleand resilient: Circumstances provide supervisors with an opportunityto show their wisdom and professionalism. They must adjust tochanging organizational needs and also be modest in case of a crisis.

Energeticand enthusiastic: Employees performance reflects what they emulatefrom the supervisor. Coupled with motivation, energy and enthusiasmare vital in driving a department towards quality service to patientsas well as improve the general condition of the organization.

Creative:managing people requires a high level of creativity so that thedirectives of the management are balanced with the needs ofemployees.

Employeeorientation: The supervisor needs to ensure that new employees areaware of the internal and external customers. Employee orientationshould focus on high-quality customer service. To do so, supervisorsshould: evaluate employees on the basis of customer serviceexpectations adopt a reward system that adheres to customer serviceexpectations, and design an effective customer service system.

Interviewingskills for Prospective Employees

Supervisorsare very vital in determining the qualifications of employees in therespective departments. It is, therefore, necessary for supervisorsto be able to co-ordinate with the human resource department so thatthey can get the best employees for hire. Thus, they must beconversant with labor laws governing the hiring process such as theEqual opportunity Act, The National Labor Relations Act, and theIndividuals with Disabilities Act. The questions that supervisorsformulate for candidates need top basically focus on motivation,teamwork potential, followership skill and attitude, resistance tostress, retention potential, and customer service orientation.

Focuson Team Leadership

Ateam in healthcare is essentially a group of health professionalsinvolved in designing and delivering healthcare services. To largerextent, the customer is part of the team in healthcare because theyare involved in paying for it. As team leader, a supervisor inhealthcare needs to create a departmental culture of greaterexpertise, synergy in working, improved morale, and improvedretention of human resources (p. 5). A department as a team orientsall its activities to the customer. Team leadership entails vestingpower in employees so that they are empowered to perform delegatedtasks effectively. Although the organization may opt to rewarddepartments, a supervisor needs to motivate individuals byrecognizing and rewarding individual effort.

of Management Skills for Supervisors In Healthcare

Effectivecommunication-Before making any communication, a supervisor has tounderstand individual needs of each employee in the department.

Effectivedelegation- Healthcare has a specific delegation culture based on theprocedures set by regulators. A supervisor needs to understand theseprocedures.

Employeemotivation- motivation emanates from the best working conditions andan effective reward system.

Problem-solvingskills and decision-making-

Timemanagement- a supervisor needs to plan and prioritize activities.

Careerdevelopment- through strategic succession plans and encouragingcontinuous learning among employees, supervisors develop their owncareers and those of employees.

Teamleadership- by vesting power in employees, they are bound to fulfilldepartmental goals. .

Effectivehiring skills- Understand laws on hiring on focus on employeeresilience and customer orientation.


Decision-makingis a fact of life for supervisors. All the functions that supervisorscarry out entail some element of decision-making. Therefore,supervisors play a pivotal role in healthcare. They are in-charge andresponsible for all the activities in a department. Contraryconventional assumptions that portray supervisors as general clinicalofficers, they are officers with legal responsibility on severalemployee-related issues such as safety, job equality, andorganizational ethics.


McConnell,C. R. (2011). Theeffective health care supervisor.Jones &amp Bartlett Publishers.

Westberg,J., &amp Jason, H. (2013). Collaborativeclinical education: the foundation of effective health care(Vol. 16). Springer Publishing Company.