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How Do I Develop Supervisor Goals?

By Osmand Vitez
Updated May 17, 2024
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Supervisors often make up part of a company’s management staff, though they may not represent the highest managerial level. In many cases, supervisors are responsible for watching over employees and ensuring these individuals meet a company’s requirements. Supervisor goals can be wide ranging in nature, from improving a department’s output to training employees in new skills. Executive management is often responsible for creating supervisor goals. A common process for this activity is to identify gaps in the supervisor’s area, conduct an assessment, and develop corrective actions with the supervisor to close identified gaps.

Gap analysis is a very common business activity, though it may not always go by this name. Setting supervisor goals often comes after owners and executives review a supervisor’s work and operational area. Upper management review what they expect to see in the supervisor’s work and the actual results during the gap analysis process. The differences between these two represent opportunities for goals that will bridge the gap between expectations and actual activities. Supervisors may undergo a formal review here when conducting gap analysis.

Assessments are quite common for supervisors, who often undergo annual reviews of their actions and supervised areas. In some cases, a supervisor may undergo a personal self-assessment with the intent to grade him- or herself prior to the formal review. This provides data for upper management who will assess how well the individual can meet personal goals. The self-assessment can provide insight for upper management and assist in setting specific goals for the supervisor. The supervisor goals set here then frame future reviews of the individual’s effectiveness in the company.

In some cases, gap analysis and self-assessments can lead to corrective actions as part of supervisor goals. These actions will alter how the individual completes his or her tasks and handles problems. The development of lower-level supervisors is often necessary so a company can promote from within those individuals best suited for higher management positions. The corrective actions may also improve an entire area in a business. How a supervisor responds to these changes and corrective actions may also be a part of supervisor goals.

Not all supervisors have the same goals. Upper management should tailor each review process to a supervisor and review each independently. Creating one measuring stick for all supervisors can be a dangerous tactic. Upper managers must invest the time and effort into each individual supervisor in order to make him or her a success.

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Discussion Comments
By croydon — On Dec 30, 2011

@indigomoth - It might in fact be entirely up to the management what kind of goals you are reaching for as a supervisor. As it says in the article, they might decide to set some goals for you after an analysis of your performance.

I think this would be difficult to hear, but then no one is perfect. I know I'm not. If I had someone give me a particular goal for the coming year in order to improve my performance as a supervisor I would try to take it as a learning experience and opportunity rather than an insult to the work I've already done.

By indigomoth — On Dec 29, 2011

@Mor - I would suggest that a supervisor not set goals until he or she is familiar with the people they are working with anyway. I mean, it depends on what kind of level you are supervising.

It's going to be different if you are supervising school kids working in a fast food joint, or computer programmers, or office workers or whatever.

But, I would say you can still set general goals going into a situation, like trying to foster a communal feeling, or getting everyone to meet the current deadline or whatever.

It will also depend on what your boss wants you to do. It might be that you are being brought in as a supervisor in order to clear up a particular problem.

By Mor — On Dec 28, 2011

It must be quite difficult to set goals as a supervisor as all your goals are based around the performance of other people.

I mean, you could have a few goals that are dependent on your own individual effort, but mostly you'll be setting targets for the people you supervise.

I suppose you just need to make sure you take this into account when setting the goals. You don't have total control over the outcome of each person's day at work, but you can do the best you can with what you've got.

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