Mainstream Living

Employee Tip - Supervisors are People Too

It seems rather obvious to state that supervisors no different than any other staff member.  However, when start dealing with all of the issues that come with additional authority and responsibility, we can sometimes lose sight of this.  The next time you are frustrated with a supervisor think about the points listed below:

1. Recognize that your supervisor is not always the expert, and that you are not always the expert.  Try to come to consensus on things.
It’s okay to ask for your supervisor’s help or opinion, but don’t expect them to always have the answer.  Don’t be frustrated if a supervisor cannot come up with a quick solution, or comes up with a plan that may not work.  Instead, work together with your supervisor and other members of your team to find the best solution.

On the contrary, you may not be the expert in a given situation, or there may be a side of things that you do not see.  Make sure not to discount a supervisor’s opinion, even if you disagree with it.  

2. Recognize that your supervisor has a different scope.  Try to understand the the role of a supervisor, and how or why they make decisions.
As a direct support professional, you likely specialize in individuals and ways to help members lead safe, happy, and fulfilled lives.  Your supervisor likely specializes in programming, keeping things organized, and helping members with big picture issues in their lives.  The two points of view often complement each other, but sometimes they come into conflict.  Before passing judgement on a supervisor during a disagreement, take some time to step back and try to see things from their point of view.  Maybe explain why you feel the way you do, and ask about your supervisor’s opinion.  You may gain some insight into something you have not thought about before.

3. Get to know your supervisor's personality.  Identify barriers to communication and collaboration that may exist because of your different personalities.  Identify ways in which you work together well.
Maybe you get along really well with your supervisor, but maybe they are someone who you would not normally interact with outside of work.  Just remember that you share one thing in common - a commitment to the people we serve.  The more work you can do to improve communication with your supervisor, the more you will improve your ability to serve members.

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