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Fundamentals of Management and Supervision

Page history last edited by Brandi Jackson 8 years, 9 months ago


Fundamentals of Management and Supervision


Tim Yorkey

Sally Westendorf

November 5, 2014

9:30am - 3:30pm

University Center

Rose Room

6 Credit hours



The focus of this course is to teach different leadership styles and learn who you are as a leadership figure.  Prior to the course, the students were required to participate in a short questionnaire to determine our behavior in the workplace and how to perform at our highest potential.  We also discuss how to work with different personality styles to benefit the organization.  Supervisors and managers are responsible for facilitating success for their employees.  Feedback is an important tool and we learn how to gather information, rate behaviors, and present the feedback effectively.  We also discussed how to handle challenges a supervisor may encounter and a few tips to aid in decision making.   


Preparing to Deliver

The course begins with how to effectively work with others.  Four elements exist on how to effectively deal with coworkers.  First, know specifically what you want.  As a leader, you have to have a clear, concise plan on where you want the team to go for the year.  Are we focusing more on teamwork this year or more on sales?  Having a plan is extremely important for instilling trust and respect in your employees.  Next, you have to make the commitment.  This means that you have to follow through and implement your plan.  Possibly the worst thing the manager can do is to present a plan to the team at the first meeting of the year and never talk about it again.  Commitment to the plan means commitment to the organization.  Thirdly, managers should pay close attention to their employees.  Employees are people with lives outside of work, which means that problems may arise at home that affects the productivity level of some employees.  A good manager pays attention to the signs of his employees experiencing difficulties, whether those difficulties are at home or work.  This does not involve investigating their lives in detail but it does involve showing concern or interest in the lives of your employees.  Finally, managers must be flexible.  Things are not always going to go as planned and sometimes things need to be shaken up in order to accomplish a goal.  The ability of the manager to be flexible is crucial in facilitating flexible employees.  


Employees as People

As stated previously, all workers are people that have lives outside of the organization.  Each employee possesses certain habits and personality traits that make them a unique part of the organization.  People have the tendency to carry their habits with them throughout their lives and in all situations.  Sometimes these habits can impede performance and a manager needs to realize that these habits can be altered for work purposes.  The habit can be broken as long as the manager can present a direction of change for the employee to strive.  Also, people will behave in ways that meet their needs.  An employee will work harder for the organization when he feels his needs are being met and vice versa.  Communication styles are also habits that may or may not need changing.  Every employee has his own communication style.  When working in teams, these styles can clash and create conflict.  It is the manager's responsibility to help teams understand how to effectively communicate with others.  However, conflict is not always a bad thing.  Conflict exists in two constructs: healthy conflict and unhealthy conflict.  Healthy conflict facilitates the exchange of ideas and compromising on disagreements.  Unhealthy conflict is the bad conflict that we immediately think of when teams are not getting along.  Although it is difficult, unhealthy conflict can be controlled.  The manager has to provide conflict management of some sort to the team.  Much in the same way the manager must provide employees with whatever motivates them the most.  It is all about understanding that your employees are people, not machines, and working with their personalities and preferences to achieve success.  With employees being different, the manager needs to find a way to align every employee with the organization that compliments and completes each other.


Managers should be careful to not assume that their employees react and think in the same manner as the mangers do.  Some facets may be similar (i.e., differences in public and private personalities) but views, beliefs, and behaviors may be vastly different.  When managers make mistakes or observe the mistakes of other, the managers are responsible for approaching that issue head on; whereas employees are not as inclined to face the issue head on.  It is important for managers and employees to work as a team in order to perform at higher levels.  Integrating teamwork inspires fresh, new perspectives into the organization and decreases the probability of stagnation.  Understanding what inspires and motivates others can only be accomplished when the manager or leader understands his inspiration and motivation.  You cannot give your team something to be passionate about unless you can find the passion in it for yourself.


DISC Profile

The DISC profile is a useful tool to help you understand what you bring to organizations.  DISC looks at different behavior styles as they relate to dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance.  Perhaps the largest benefit of the DISC profile is the identification of one's strengths and weaknesses.  This allows for the development of strategies to market the strengths and improve the weaknesses in order to meet the demands of the environment.  The DISC profile measures for dimensions of behavior, accounting for inherent and upbringing causes of behavior:

  • Response to problems and challenges
  • Influencing others to your point of view
  • Response to the pace of the environment
  • Response to rules and procedures set by others

The report may not be one-hundred percent accurate but it only measures behavior that is observable and can be assessed through a generalized questionnaire.  The DISC profile is meant to be a guide to help you understand your behavior and how you can benefit from understanding your behavior. 


The Dimensions

The first dimension is dominance.  With dominance, there tends to be the fear of being taken advantage of, which is why highly dominant personalities  are argumentative and egotistical.  A person with a high dominance score may not be able to identify potential risks and is less likely to weigh the pros and cons. Also, highly dominate people are not readily accepting of others opinions and are not open to new ideas that they did not bring to the table themselves.  Dominant personalities need to strive to be better, more active listeners and open up the floor for others to present their thoughts and ideas.  In regards to interaction with others, dominant people need to work on being more approachable in the workplace and explain the reasons behind any statements or proposals brought to the floor, instead of "barking" orders.  However, dominant personalities to offer a few advantages such as, being self-confident, enjoying change, and being motivated by new challenges.  These strengths can be used to outweigh the shortcomings to benefit the team and the organization.


The influencing dimension involves being able to sway others to your point of view.  Those high on the influencing dimension are very emotional and verbal, highly people oriented, artistic but disorganized, and motivated by public praise.  Influencers fear rejection because of their high extroverted tendencies and are more concerned with popularity over results.  Because of the lack of concern with results, influencers tend to take things at face value and overlook details.  This may cause problems but influencers are creative when it comes to problem solving.  People scoring high on influence should focus on being less impulsive and more results oriented when making decisions and solving problems.


Individuals who score high on steadiness are highly family oriented, protective, loyal, and motivated by planning.  The greatest fear for this dimension is the loss of security.  Because of this fear, those high in steadiness may be more resistant to change, sensitive to criticism, and find difficulty establishing priorities.  The steadiness dimension tends to be avoidant of conflict, meaning that these individuals may be openly agreeable but are inwardly conflicted and are hesitant to share feedback during a presentation.  However, steady individuals are able to provide valuable support for team goals.  Steady individuals should focus on being open to change, dealing constructively with conflict, and expressing thoughts and ideas. 


Compliant individuals tend to be perfectionists who value accuracy and the following of the law.  These individuals are motivated by facts and feel a large violation when rules are broken.  Because of the perfectionist tendencies of compliant individuals, criticism is their greatest fear.  These individuals need clear cut boundaries and guidelines and are almost incapable of thinking creatively.  High compliance scorers often become bogged down by the amount of details and will avoid or postpone decisions if a risk is perceived.  However, compliant individuals make effective trouble shooters.  Compliant individuals have certain areas of improvement on which to focus such as, building rapport with others, being less critical of others, and take risks as a team.  



Teamwork is an important component in organizations and it is important for each individual to know how to work well with others of different personalities.  As a manager, it is your responsibility to design teams that will work well together and which personalities will be compatible enough to accomplish team goals.  There are two types of compatibility that the DISC profiles cover: relationship compatibility and task compatibility.  Relationship compatibility strictly deals with the compatibility between people to form relationships such as friendships and romantic relationships. Task compatibility refers to the ability of people from different dimensions to accomplish goals as a team.  The following charts illustrate which DISC dimensions are more likely to be compatible.  The scale ranges from 1 to 8, with 1-2 demonstrating excellent compatibility, 3-4 illustrating good compatibility, 5-6 denoting fair compatibility, and 7-8 meaning poor compatibility.



My DISC Profile

The DISC profile covers general characteristics that present a broad overview of how I would prefer to accomplish the job.  The profiler uses my responses to measure my basic natural behaviors that I bring to the organization.  The next section outlines my value to the organization and helps me to identify my role in the organization.  A few statements that denote my value to the organization are:

  • Able to turn confrontation into positives
  • Able to adapt to situations
  • Positive sense of humor
  • Highly people-oriented
  • Respect for authority and organizational structure
  • Able to accomplish goals through people and teams
  • Creative problem solving
  • Negotiates conflicts

Communication is also an important component in organizations.  This section is important for improving interpersonal communication and defining how I prefer to be communicated with.  In order for managers to communicate effectively with me, I need to have a warm, friendly environment and time to ask questions.  I do not receive angry communication well and I do not like being talked down to.  The communication section also includes tips on how to communicate effectively when I encounter people with different personality dimensions. 


We discuss a lot about goodness of fit between an organization and its employees.  The Ideal Environment section identifies what my ideal work environment would be for me to succeed.  Adaptable people use intelligence to modify their behavior in order to make any environment comfortable.  My ideal work environment includes a democratic supervisor, practical work procedures, freedom from control and detail, and assignments with a high degree of contact with people.


The next section discusses how others perceive my personality.  This section is important because it allows me to be able to project what I want others to see and control the more obnoxious personality traits.  I have included the the charts that describe how I perceive myself, how others perceive me under moderate stress, and how others perceive me under extreme stress.

The previous charts seem to be accurate.  I can understand how my optimism, enthusiasm, and outgoing personality can be received poorly by others when I am under extreme stress.  Knowing that I can be perceived as overly confident, a self-promoter, and a poor listener is very informing.  I can adapt my personality when I experience stress to reflect a different perception.  This should avoid any conflict and negative perceptions.


Natural and Adapted Style

This section of the DISC profile compares my natural tendencies (or my private self) to my adapted tendencies (or my public self).  It is ideal to not see any change in the two tendencies but not everyone experiences equal distribution between natural and adaptive styles.  In all four of the categories examined, I see little to no change in my natural versus adaptive style, meaning what you see is what you get.  I find my natural style to be exactly what the environment it looking for.  


When looking into my adapted style more in depth, the DISC profile identified a few behaviors that I am currently adapting to my work environment.  I am adopting behaviors that include teamwork, participative decision making, motivating people through persuasion, and obtaining results through others.  These suggest that I am adapting certain behaviors to step up into a leadership position.  I am also adapting behaviors that are friendly and cordial with new clients and customers which may be indicative of changing my environment drastically.  I find myself more likely to be friendly, cordial, and supporting when I encounter new environments and take on new challenges.  


The following graphs illustrate a visual representation of my natural versus my adapted styles.

The Success Insights Wheel illustrates the degree to which I am adapting my behavior.  The circle denotes my natural behavior; whereas the star denotes the adaptive behavior.  How far apart the circle and star are illustrates how much I am adapting my behavior.  According to the wheel, my natural style is a "Relating Promoter" and my adaptive style is a "Promoting Relater."  My styles are not far apart on the wheel, meaning I do not feel the need to wildly alter my behavior to fit into the environment.


Leadership Styles 

We discussed three different leadership styles during this section of the course: Authoritarian, Participative, and Delegative.  Leadership styles are important to understand because each situation may require a different style.  The authoritarian style of leadership is best described by the micromanager.  This style is more autocratic in nature and these leaders provide clear expectations to group members on what should be done, when it should be done, and how it should be done.  These individuals are very rule oriented but this can cause problems in the organization.  With an authoritarian style of leadership, the staff can:

  • Become tense, fearful, or resentful
  • Expect opinions to be heard
  • Become over-reliant on manager's decision making skills
  • Experience low morale, high turnover, absenteeism, and work stoppage
    • Speaking on turnover rate, managers with high levels of authoritarian leadership styles are responsible for seventy-five percent of turnover. 

Participative leaders are more democratic in nature and seek to hear the opinions of their employees.  It is important that the team is engaged and involved in the problem-solving process.  Participative leaders only retain the power to make final decisions.  This style of leadership has been found to create a more productive team but it is important to remember to give credit where credit is due.  With this style of leadership largely depending on teamwork, there are some issues present for participative leadership.

  • The staff may not be highly skilled or experienced in the issues presented.
  • Participative leaders may have issues implementing operational changes. 
  • There may also be a problem resolving individual or group problems. 

Delegative leaders approach leading in a laissez-faire style.  These types of leaders allow their people to what they want, depending on the situation.  The laissez-faire style of leadership tends to be more acceptable in an informal environment and is more bureaucratic in nature.  These types of leaders offer little to no guidance for their employees and allow others to take the role of expert in situations.  This can be very useful in the teaching and development of employees, which will instill loyalty to the organization because of the promise of promotion or moving up in the company.  However, the laissez-faire style of leadership displays a few problems.  When the manager turns the responsibility over tot the employees, the employees tend to feel insecure and question the competency of the manager.  No one wants to go down in a sinking ship.  The manager cannot provide regular and accurate feedback because of the way assignments are divided among the employees.  Another problem is the lack of team recognition when the team accomplishes a goal.  Laissez-faire leaders have a tendency to not show gratitude or acknowledgement and look to their employees to "cover" them.    


These styles of leadership are all very different but can be adapted depending on the situation.  Certain things in the manager's environment influences that adaptation of his leadership style.  The manager's personal background is crucial when the manager has not had any formal management training.  It is also important for the manager to remain politically adapted to what is going on with the organization's culture.  Leadership is not a form of authority but a way to guide people and help them to accomplish things they would not do by themselves.  Good leaders know their employees and actively seek to build good rapport with them.  


10 Leadership Functions

In order to be an effective leader, one must approach leadership from ten different performance functions.  Each of these functions facilitate good leadership through managing of employees, teams, and satisfying customers.  The ten leadership functions are:

  • Visioning
  • Commitment
  • Satisfying the customer
  • Coaching
  • Human resources
  • Leading teams
  • Managing processes
  • Managing change
  • Managing projects
  • Measuring performance


Feedback: Performance Management

When discussing performance management, we compared and contrasted between performance management and performance appraisal.  Performance management is an ongoing process with progressive steps centered around planning and goal setting.  It is also future oriented and looks to improve the organization through accomplishing the previously mentioned progressive steps.  Performance management is created from four steps: planning the review environment, performance period, performance review, and goal setting and planning.  Since performance management is an ongoing process, it is safe to assume that it exists on a continuum and cycles through the previously mentioned steps.  Performance management is important to the organization because it decreases the volume of turnover, presents employees with reviews of their performance, and offers suggestions foe improvement for employees.


Feedback is dependent on ratings and ratings can be biased.  The most common rating standards are a 1 (unsatisfactory) through 5 (excellent) scale.  In order for ratings to accurately reflect performance, the ratings must be free of bias.  However, we discussed a few things that classify as rating perils:

  • Halo effect: inflation of ratings in which employee scores the same on every trait
  • Central tendency: rating everyone the same, no rating differentiation among employees
  • Leniency: being extremely giving of certain scores regardless of poor performance
  • Recency: focuses on recent events
  • Similarity: inflating scores because employee shares values or interests to the rater
  • Constancy: rating employees based on rank order 

Next, the class participated in a rating activity.  We were assigned to watch a few videos (poor performing receptionist and high performing receptionist - video not able to be located due to copyright) and were instructed to rate the employee in question in order for us to apply the learned knowledge.  Before beginning the training videos, we were told that when training raters, the organization should clarify specifics for employees and be constructive and direct about the ratings.  I have included a copy of the handout with the ratings.


Final Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed this course and felt that I gained a large amount of useful information that can easily be transferred to on-the-job situations.  As an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, I learned a little about the importance of leadership, teamwork, and feedback and how beneficial each of the previous dimensions are to the organization.  I found the DISC Profile to be the most useful tool from this course, as I was able to learn more about my professional self and what I am able to bring to the table for organizations.  

Notes, Handouts, and Certificates

Management and Supervision PowerPoint Notes 11:05:14.pdf                  Management and Supervision Handouts.pdf

Management and Supervision Notes 11:05:14.pdf                                    Management and Supervision DISC Profile.pdf

Management and Supervision Certificate.pdf





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