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What Makes a Good Supervisor? 7 Skills to Look For


A team is only as good as its supervisor. A skilled supervisor is essential to achieving business success since they guide your staff toward company goals.

However, a 2021 study found that only 11% of HR teams have a strong supervisor to fill leadership roles. As a result, many companies lack leaders who can effectively lead the workforce.

It’s important to carefully choose skilled, effective supervisors to protect the future of your company. A competent manager knows how to maximize your workforce’s capabilities and inspire members to reach their full potential, which will continue your organization’s forward progress.

7 Supervisor Skills to Look For

Competent supervisors have essential skills and qualities to fulfill their duties and responsibilities. By understanding what makes a good supervisor, you can make informed hiring decisions and develop effective leaders within your organization. Consider these supervisor skills for your company. 

1. Strong communication skills

Effective communication is the core of a successful supervisor. A good supervisor must clearly articulate expectations, instructions, and organizational goals. You also want someone skilled in active listening to understand the team’s concerns and address productivity barriers. 

During hiring, assess the candidate’s communication skills by asking situational questions about how they communicated with their team during challenging situations. 

Tip: Include role-play exercises or group discussions during interviews to gauge a candidate’s communication abilities. 

2. Approachability and empathy

An approachable and understanding leader creates an environment where team members feel secure when seeking guidance and expressing their concerns. Look for candidates interested in their team’s well-being and actively foster an inclusive, supportive work culture. 


Tip: During the interview, ask candidates how they handled a difficult situation with an employee in the past and how they demonstrated approachability and empathy. 

3. Mentorship and staff development

Ideally, a leader actively supports team members’ professional growth by providing guidance, offering learning opportunities, and rewarding achievements. 

The supervisor should know how to identify team members with potential and encourage them to improve and pursue higher-level positions. 

Hiring a supervisor who demonstrates a passion for promoting the success of others and has a proven history of developing talent is beneficial.

Tip: Ask candidates about their approach to mentorship and how they have contributed to previous team members’ professional development. 

4. Workload organization

Supervisors are responsible for effectively managing workloads and ensuring tasks progress as scheduled. Look for candidates who demonstrate strong organizational skills, can prioritize tasks, and have a systematic approach to managing deadlines and resources. 

Tip: Present candidates with a  pre-employment assessment test that independently measures important traits such as attention to detail.

5. Conflict resolution

Conflicts can arise in any workplace, and a good supervisor must know how to resolve them effectively. Watch for prospects who can handle conflicts diplomatically, listen to all parties involved, and find fair solutions that promote harmony and productivity. 


Tip: Inquire about a candidate’s experience resolving conflicts between team members and how they reached a positive outcome. 

6. Decision-making and problem-solving

Supervisors often face complex situations that require quick and informed decision-making. Hire candidates who can analyze problems, consider different perspectives, and make well-thought-out decisions under pressure. 

Tip: Use case studies or situational judgment tests to assess a candidate’s decision-making abilities and problem-solving skills. 

7. Willingness to learn

This trait is a mark of a great supervisor. By having a leader eager to keep growing and evolving, your company can adapt quickly during crises or transitions. 

Hire a genuinely curious employee eager to expand their knowledge and skills. They should welcome feedback, embrace new ideas, and stay updated on industry trends and best practices. 

Tip: Ask candidates about their approach to professional development and how they stay current in their field. Inquire about instances where they proactively sought opportunities to learn and improve.

Ignite Your Team’s Success with an Effective Supervisor

Excellent supervisors drive team success and achieve organizational goals. As such, you must carefully select leaders with the proper skill set to create a thriving work environment that maximizes your workforce’s potential. Effective supervisors possess strong communication skills, approachability, people management abilities, and mentorship capabilities, among other things. 

As you hire or develop supervisors, EmployTest can be a valuable partner. We offer supervisor aptitude tests that assess candidates’ skills and competency in various areas of efficient supervision. These assessment tools provide valuable insights to help you make informed hiring decisions and identify the right talent for your organization. 

Check out our supervisor aptitude tests or try our free sample employment test to see how they work.