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The most important thing is to form good working relationships. Supervisors can learn many different skills and tactics, but few will be effective without positive relationships. Understand the concept of "essential attitudes" for a supervisor. Essential attitudes for success exist in every profession, whether you are a teacher, scientist, minister, pilot, or supervisor. Here's one: assume your employees are doing the best job they can from their point of view. This attitude will affect the way you speak, act, nurture, and support them. It might even help you remember to use PAS more often as a resource to improve performance. Another: spell out for employees what they need to do in order to succeed and then give them the ability to do it. Imagine how these essential attitudes influence a positive relationship, and how lacking they are with many managers.

Studies indicate that 50% of employees have quit a job because of a bad boss. One study reported that 75% consider their boss a major source of stress, but most have no plans to quit. The health issue is stress. Here's a list of common complaints from a Harris Poll in order of severity:

  1. not recognizing employee achievements;
  2. not giving clear directions;
  3. not having time to meet with employees;
  4. refusing to talk with subordinates,
  5. taking credit for others' ideas;
  6. not offering constructive criticism;
  7. not knowing an employee's name;
  8. refusing to talk with people on the phone or in person; and
  9. not asking about employees' lives outside of work.

Nearly all of these complaints fall in the realm of communication, and some you may find surprising. For example, employees want you to know more about them personally. Do any apply to you? PAS can help you become a better supervisor on any of these issues.

Giving feedback to employees is not about delivering the good with the bad and hoping for the best. Your attitude and approach are critical. Do you show annoyance over the shortcomings of your employee's work, or do you deliver feedback with judgment-free specificity? The latter approach works better because valuable employees are hard enough on themselves. More importantly, give feedback with the intention of motivating employees. If an employee is not energized following a feedback interview, you have taken a step backward in that relationship. Whenever possible, use feedback meetings to teach new skills. Develop good working relationships with your employees and discuss how you will give feedback to them. Let them know that the purpose of feedback is to help them excel, not to find fault or shake their confidence. Use these guidelines the next time you give feedback. You will enjoy giving feedback more often, and you'll do it more effectively.