By Kristin Baird
“I thought she was a really strong supervisor. I had no idea she was creating friction in the department.”
This was a statement made by someone I coach after she learned, while conducting stay interviews, that two of her staff were about to resign because of conflict with a shift supervisor.
Drilling down into the situation with her, this manager discovered that she had a blind spot for the supervisor, preventing her from seeing the impact on the team. Unfortunately, this isn’t unusual.
Many leaders have blind spots preventing them from identifying poor leadership that can erode morale and hurt employee engagement. However, proper coaching frequently reveals these blind spots and can be essential in course corrections.
Proper coaching can help you keep the good employees you have
In this case, the manager had promoted a staff member to shift supervisor. During her onboarding process, they focused on priority tasks to be accomplished during every shift. Because the tasks were consistently accomplished, the manager saw the supervisor as a solid performer. The problem was that she expected leadership but trained a taskmaster without emphasizing the leadership skills needed to foster a cohesive and engaged team.
When hiring anyone who will be leading others, it’s imperative to set expectations and provide the tools needed to create a high-performing team and proper employee engagement. This requires more than a task checklist. Help the new leader understand the department vision and values, clarify expectations and how results will be measured, and offer support and leadership development.
Never underestimate the impact of supervisors, shift coordinators and charge nurses on employee retention.
I once had a director say, “Oh she is just a supervisor. Everyone really reports to the manager,” when discussing morale issues. That may be true on paper, but the direct reporting relationship and power structure means the supervisor has significant impact on the daily work environment.
Watch, listen, and learn. Your blind spots may be creating a revolving door.
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