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Supervisory Acumen

Guiding a team, section or workgroup towards harmonious performance in the nature of a symphony


Skilled individual contributors get promoted to a supervisory role when they produce good results and demonstrate an ability to collaborate with others. Their focus now shifts from delivering personal excellence to enabling collective performance. Facilitating symphony of the kind that is witnessed in a well-rehearsed orchestra or a synchronized surgical unit is the primary supervisory challenge.

Supervisors must first win the respect and trust of team members before demanding a semblance of conformity. They must assume full responsibility for the people and deliverables, even while the requisite authority takes its time in coming their way. Organizational interdependencies mean that supervisors must catalyze positive changes even outside their areas of direct responsibility.

This stepping-stone to leadership is truly a “trial by the fire”.


A workgroup is a dynamic, living system of inter-relationships amongst a set of individuals working together to realize shared aspirations.

The supervisor's mandate is transform this collective into a high-performing team where members complement and leverage the strengths of one another for the accomplishment of uncommon results.

To do this, an aspiring supervisor or team leader must:

  • a) Demonstrate Personal Credibility, which is the quality of being trusted and respected by others
  • b) Build Interpersonal Commitment that helps inspire engagement and dedication of other colleagues
  • c) Enable Collective Collaboration, whereby a group of people is inspired towards working together in the pursuit of common goals

Learning Outcomes:

  • Building personal credibility through creative and authentic behavior

  • Discovering and articulating the dreams, strengths and talents of colleagues

  • Building and maintaining healthy relationships

  • Aligning the members of the workgroup towards a common agenda, and mobilize them to action

  • Developing heartfelt commitment, motivation, melody, harmony and rhythm within the workgroup

  • Learning how to resolve interpersonal conflicts, and provide feedback or counseling as appropriate