Supervision is a right of workers and many organisations have supervision policies and formal supervision arrangements in place.
Task - writing exercise/group activity
Strategies for improvement
Overhead transparencyThe supervision process provides workers with the opportunity to:
- reflect and discuss challenging and confronting aspects of their work
- reflect on things that they have done well and work out ways of dealing with situations more effectively
- discuss client situations when they feel they are 'stuck' (while maintaining confidentiality, of course!)
- explore any issues arising out of their work role that need addressing
- Supervision is an important part of taking care of yourself and should be an ongoing process
- Supervision can be provided by managers (in house), by external providers (usually on a contract basis), or by peers (in a team supervision situation)
- Supervision provides a learning opportunity by allowing you to time to reflect on your work and develop your professional skills.
Task - writing exercise/group activityQuestion - What items would you include in your contract?
- Frequency of supervision (weekly, fortnightly)
- Place where session will occur
- A description of what might be allowed to disrupt a supervision session (for example, can the session be cancelled if there is a crisis at work or at home?)
- The expectations of the worker
- The expectations of the supervisor
Strategies for improvement
Task - writing exercise/group activityIf you already have supervision arrangements in place (with or without a formal contract), reflect on ways in which the process could be improved or revised.
Question - What strategies can you suggest that will improve the process for you and other members of your team?
Question - What are some of the qualities that you would like your supervisor to have?
Answer - Supervisors should:
- demonstrate a high level of professional skills in their own work
- demonstrate the appropriate personal characteristics (e.g. they should be optimistic and encouraging, have a sense of humour, be empathic and sensitive to the needs of others and have good listening skills
- have a good knowledge of individual differences with regard to gender, ethnicity, culture, age and sexual orientation
- have knowledge of the policies and procedures of the workplace and be familiar with the ethical, legal and regulatory aspects of the field of work
- be able to set clear goals for the supervision session in consultation with the worker
- provide immediate feedback relevant to the issue. This feedback should be honest, objective and constructive.
Task - workplace learning activity/writing exerciseCan you identify any specific shortcomings in your current supervision arrangements? For example:
Question - Do you have open communication with your supervisor?
Question - Does your supervisor concentrate on giving you support at the expense of constructive criticism?
Question - Does your supervisor define clearly what they expect from you?
Question - Does your supervisor make time for you?
Question - How could you be more proactive in resolving these and any other problems you are experiencing with your supervision?
Answer - Some possible strategies for improving supervision include:
- asking for a more direct response
- asking for constructive criticism
- making your own expectations clear
- being assertive in regard to appointment times
- being prepared for supervision with a written agenda
- asking for a different supervisor, if possible
- seeking out external supervision
- suggesting other supervision methods (e.g. team supervision).
- Working with young people can be demanding and workers need to develop support networks, including workplace supervision
- Supervision should be regarded as a right and provides an opportunity to debrief and to develop strategies for dealing with issues
- Supervision is more effective when it is planned and when the worker has set clear goals for the session.