Personal Assistance Service (PAS) | 2200 West Main Street | Erwin Square Tower | 4th Floor, Suite 400A | Durham, NC 27705 | 919-416-1PAS (919-416-1727)

Supervisor Newsletter

Newsletter-October 2016

Q. Must everything we do as supervisors fall under the heading of "being a role model?" Personally, I think it is good to loosen up every once in a while so that employees see we are real people who can have a good time.

A. It may not seem fair, but your employees are continuously judging you by your behaviors. By virtue of your position, every behavior you exhibit to employees is viewed in the context of you as a role model. This is an inescapable dynamic of workplace authority and supervision. But there is more to it. All behaviors of supervisors make an impression on employees because their behaviors are symbolic. They tell your employees what you value, what you support, and what you stand for. This is a powerful tool in leadership. Not understanding this dynamic can cause you to lose their respect, along with harming your ability to influence and shape a team. Unfortunately, this easily happens when supervisors feel uncomfortable with this power or believe that being "one of the guys (or gals)" is more important.

Q. We experienced a sudden death of an employee. Some of the Personal Assistance Service staff came to meet with employees and to offer support, but some close co-workers of the deceased employee didn't show for the meeting. I was surprised. Should I be concerned?

A. It is not uncommon for meetings of this type to be initially avoided by those directly affected by the death. They simply may not yet be ready to share their reactions with others. These employees may demonstrate their grief later or in a different way. Let the PAS staff offer guidance on steps you can take to help your employees respond to their grief. One resource that supervisors have found helpful in assisting employees is the "Grief in the Workplace" information on the PAS website. You might let employees know they can come together for follow-up meetings to share and talk with each other. These meetings in the workplace are valuable, and they almost invariably become collaborative planning sessions where coworkers take charge of logistics, communication, funeral assistance, supporting the family, honoring the worker's memory, planning meals, tending to household chores, dealing with pets, managing the employee's belongings, and more. Be attuned to the productivity levels of your employees in the coming months and suggest Personal Assistance Service for those who struggle to return to a desired level of productivity.