Supervisory skills you'll need as a team leader

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Finding yourself in a supervisory or leadership role is encouraging because it means the company believes in you. But it can also be slightly daunting when you consider the responsibilities that come with the title.

You wouldn’t have been promoted to this position without the necessary experience, qualifications and qualities. But there might be a few skills or two that you need to brush up on or strengthen before you begin your team leader duties. You will be responsible for an entire department and team of employees and they will require the skills of a seasoned supervisor.

We will be discussing the supervisory skills you’ll need as a team leader, therefore you can expect to undergo management training amongst other training services to prepare yourself for your new role.

People management skills

You will, essentially, be managing your department and the team of employees it’s comprised of. That means you need to have a good understanding of people and know how to manage them appropriately.

It’s likely that your company will organise training management services for you and the other new team leads to complete. This will provide an opportunity for you to learn how to be a great leader, how to utilise your team as a business resource, how to monitor departmental objectives in relation to the company’s goals and how to enhance your interpersonal communication skills.

These are all important aspects of people management and you will need to learn how to work with different personalities. You will need to understand the individuals, as well as know how to delegate tasks within the team in order to meet your goals.

Through people management skills, you become a leader and learn how to take charge, command and responsibility for those employees on your team.

Presentation skills

One of your responsibilities as a team lead or supervisor is to report back during weekly meetings with all the heads of departments. You will need to account for your team, deliver your statistic reports and provide a contingency plan for the week ahead. Apart from these internal meetings, you will also be the department representative at client and shareholder meetings where there is more pressure to present appropriately.

And in order to excel at these presentations, you would require presentation skills training which might be covered in your general management training. There is more to prepare and practice for a meeting than simply compiling relevant data into a binder and reciting it. You need to know how to stand in a way that demands attention, how to speak clearly without the “umms” and “ahs” distracting from your report delivery, and the best ways to be prepared for questions afterwards.

According to your company, you are the best representative in your field. So, it’s important that you live up to those expectations when giving a presentation.

Technical skills

Relating to being the best in the field, this means that you will be required to have the technical skills and departmental know-how to provide assistance to any team members who may need it.

As the team lead, you will be the one people come to for advice regarding a specific project to find out what is a realistic solution. If there is a task you ask your team to carry out and they aren’t exactly sure how to do it, you will need to be able to guide them and understand the concepts yourself.

But this is why you were chosen for this position. You have the experience and industry knowledge, be ready to use it.

Communication skills

One of the most important life skills that every person needs to master is that of communication. As a supervisor, these are the specific communication skills you will require:

  • Being able to delegate: As mentioned, you will be responsible for delegating tasks to your team members and making sure that they are completed by the deadline.
  • Being able to negotiate: There may be scenarios where you need to approach management and negotiate terms in order to grow your team or increase the budget for a specific project.
  • Being a confidant: while delegation and negotiation require firm interactions of communication, you also need to be approachable as a confidant to your team members. All in a professional manner, of course, but it’s important that you look out for your team of employees. They need to know that you are available to talk to should there be a personal or career issue that is affecting their jobs. And that’s a whole different type of communication.
  • Being able to motivate: Lastly, you will need to know how to motivate your employees. Motivation can be communicated in a variety of ways which is great because individuals are generally motivated by different means. Listen to your team’s needs and you will find a way to keep them all motivated throughout those extra long work days.


The content in this article was provided by Rogerwilco – a South African marketing agency based in Cape Town.

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