Leadership and Supervision Equals Quality Services and Products
This article is going to focus on how the atmosphere in the workplace can positively or negatively impact the quality of services or products. In order to do this it is necessary to integrate multiple types of information to create a new level of information. The first concept to be discussed is performance quality in the workplace. Research completed by Bonstingle, (2001) identified two types of organizations:
Low-performing – The organization and its people never reach their fullest potential.
High-performing – The organization and its people are always expanding their own potentials and those of the organizations.
You can read more of his work by going to www.bonstingl.com/about.htm.
Examples of statements that describe a high performance workplace include:
employees trust their supervisor and confide performance concerns with them
employee absenteeism is low
employees feel their opinion counts
employees know what is expected of them and have the autonomy to decide how they will reach them Examples of statements that describe a low performance workplace include:
employees do not trust their supervisor and do not confide performance concerns with them
employee absenteeism is high
employee morale is low
employees admit they do not know what is expected of them so they spend a lot of time guessing what will make their supervisor happyGiven this information about high and low performance workplaces, what role do you think a supervisor plays in creating and sustaining either a high or low performing environment? The answer, of course, is …It All Depends. It depends on the COE, the boss, or the person in charge of final decisions. The boss must want a workplace that has leaders in all positions if high performance or quality is to be the outcome. When the expectation is that everyone in the organization is a leader, there will be a very stable feel to the workplace and the quality of its services and products will be impressive.
The concept of low and high performance workplaces fits nicely with the well researched concepts of organizational culture and climate. Organizational culture refers to the values, beliefs and customs of an organization. It is difficult to put this concept into a picture or graphic but it can be felt and observed. If the culture of an organization is team work and everyone works until a project is completed, you will not see people pointing their finger and saying its not my job. The converse is an organizational culture where people work in silos and take care of their own responsibilities. They are not expected to help others. When you walk into this type of culture, you can tell it is different than the team work model. Neither one is necessarily better than the other. Each has its value and place depending on the organization.
Returning to the earlier question about the role a supervisor plays in creating and sustaining a high or low performing environment, let’s pretend the boss is a leader herself and believes all employees are leaders. Now, what does the role of a supervisor look like? It more than likely includes creating a workplace and culture where:
the supervisor delegates responsibility
in most cases, decisions are made by information collection and then reaching consensus
project specific groups develop work plans to manage multiple priorities and report on the status of productivity on a regular basis
the supervisor makes a decision when consensus can not be reached
the supervisor listens to employees concerns, expects they provide alternative solutions to rectify the concerns, and supports the jointly developed plan of actionIf you are you a supervisor are you also a leader? Do you want to be a leader? Are you a boss and want your supervisors to become leaders in their positions? If you answered yes to any of these questions, here are a couple of ideas for you to consider.
1. Take each of the bullets listed above and identify what you or your supervisors need to learn and do in order to implement that bullet in your workplace.
2. When you have gone through each bullet and identified all of the information, skills, and experiences needed, develop strategies for reaching these.
3. Set timelines for reaching each strategy and be conscientious about checking progress.
The field of leadership in management is well developed and there are hundreds of research articles on the topic. There are also many books on leadership published and available for anyone to read. There really is no reason for anyone who wants to know about leadership to be in the dark. Open up Amazon.com on your computer and order books on leadership or search Yahoo or Google for information. Your mind will be only as full as you feed it.