A supervisor’s ability to influence employees is more critical today than in the past. A product of credibility and respect, influence is an invaluable commodity gained through demonstrated actions and behaviors. In this episode, we highlight five things supervisors should avoid doing to prevent the loss of credibility with employees.
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As Director of AEU LEAD, Joe White focuses on helping members transform operational goals into actionable plans through a structured change management process. Prior to joining AEU, Joe was a senior consultant for E.I. DuPont’s consulting division, DuPont Sustainable Solutions (DSS). He joined DSS in 2011 to develop the next generation of safety practices using extensive research in behavioral sciences he’s compiled over a period of nearly two decades. His efforts resulted in the development of The Risk Factor, which is now the flagship instructor-led offering for the consulting division. Combined, Joe has 26 years of operational safety experience, the majority of which was with DuPont. Joe has been published in Occupational Health & Safety Magazine for his prominent work in safety relative to behavioral and neurosciences and is an event speaker at many leading industry conferences including National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expos, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), and National Maritime Safety Association (NMSA). Joe is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and has a B.S., in Safety and Risk Administration.
Where you can find Joe
Supervisor Skills: Secrets of Success is a production of AEU LEAD, a division of The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. With 60 years of combined industry experience, our supervisor training program gives mid-level managers in the maritime industry the skills needed to influence employees, customers, and peers. This increases employee engagement, reduces turnover and rework, and ultimately results in higher profits for their companies.
Credibility is the currency of leadership. In today's episode, we're talking about the importance of our demonstrated actions and behaviors. Stay with us.
Hello, and thank you for joining us. My name is Joe White, and I'm the host of Supervisor Skills: Secrets of Success. The SOS podcast series is produced to create ongoing development opportunities for mid and frontline managers. With each episode, we take on topics of interest and share insights and perspectives for the benefit of our listeners. In today's SOS short episode, we're talking about credibility. Credibility among direct reports is a measure of what they see in you. More importantly, it's a reflection of how they feel about you. It's also a prerequisite to earn respect - something that can take years to get and only moments to lose. In this episode, we're going to highlight five things supervisors should avoid doing to preserve their credibility among employees.
The rule of supervision is to facilitate a company's success through its employees. Achieving performance outcomes through others requires both management and leadership skills. Leadership for those on the frontline, those working directly with employees, is different than leadership at the top. While integrity is essential for executives, supervision must have strong social or soft skills to succeed. More so than at any point in the past, employees want to work for managers they know and trust. In practice, supervision must invest the time needed to build rapport and make personal connections with direct reports. This is more important than ever before as Generation Z employees, those now entering the workforce, want direct access to and routine feedback from their supervisors.
The level of engagement expected by this incoming generation exceeds those of any previous generation, as most want multiple interactions with supervisors daily. As for what employees want to see in their supervisor, it can be summarized using four Cs.
By definition, credibility is the quality of being trusted and believed in. Related terms include reliability, dependability, integrity, honor, and character. As a supervisor, there are few things arguably more important than having credibility among your employees. As previously mentioned, earning credibility takes time. Losing it, however, takes only moments.
From our experience in working with both supervisors and employees, here are five things that can instantly damage your credibility:
1. Showing Favoritism
Perception is reality, and showing favoritism to buddies or those you know and hang with outside of work will cost you. Treat all employees equally, show them respect, and balance time spent interacting with them evenly.
2. Not Following Up
One of the biggest complaints employees have about supervision is their lack of follow-up. When employees bring up concerns or offer suggestions, make note of it. Equally as important, follow up with them in a timely manner on any open items. While employees don't always expect us to give them the answer they want, they do expect and deserve a follow-up response.
3. Walking Past Things That Need to Be Addressed
As a supervisor, you're always on stage, and employees see far more than you many realize. When we come across items that require attention, it's in our best interest to deal with them then and there. Walking past an unsafe condition, as an example, conveys a message you really don't want to send. Do the right thing and address matters in the moment when the situation dictates doing so.
4. Disrespecting Employees
To get respect, you must give it. While we may not always agree with the opinions, beliefs, or values of others, we must respect everyone's right to individuality. As workplaces become more diverse and inclusive, we must recognize the value of working as one. Disrespecting employees will undermine your integrity and destroy your credibility as a supervisor.
5. Not Showing Value or Appreciation
One out of every two employees that voluntarily leave their company do so to escape their boss. Among those, 75% cite not feeling valued or appreciated as their primary motive for leaving. As supervisors, you should take every opportunity to recognize employees for a job well done. You should thank them for going above and beyond and acknowledge special occasions or events in their lives when they occur. To draw a comparison, building credibility is like growing a savings account. At the end of the day, you want to make as many deposits as possible and avoid withdraws at all costs.
As a supervisor, credibility is essential to your success. There are any number of things you can do to establish it. There are also equally as many things you can do to destroy it. For those looking to grow as leaders, recognize its importance, build it over time, and avoid doing anything that could undermine it. If you take this approach, you'll find that the level of respect that you get from your employees will grow over time. In addition, the degree of influence you have among them will increase as well.
Thank you for joining us. I hope this information will help you grow and improve as a supervisor. We look forward to sharing additional podcasts with you in the months ahead and welcome any suggestions you might have for topics you would like to see us cover. We're always looking for guests that enjoy sharing insights and success stories from the field. If that's something, you would like to be a part of, just let us know.
The SOS podcast series is brought to you by AEU LEAD, a consultancy dedicated to the needs of mid and frontline managers. We value and appreciate any feedback and would encourage you to review and rate your experience with the show wherever you access your podcast. For additional information about AEU LEAD or to follow us on social media, please use the links in the show notes accompanying this episode. That's it for now. Stay safe and thanks for listening.