Evaluating supervisory performance

3 min read: More traditional ways of evaluating supervisor performance rely on surveys, psychometric testing or feedback from superiors. There is however, a better way. A behavioural approach to measuring the performance of supervisors is to sample what they actually say and do and link that to the results their teams achieve. Komaki and colleagues developed an index which looked at how supervisors actually spend their time. They used it to see which supervisor behaviours correlated with improved team performance in a number of settings and found the following:

  • Higher performing supervisors spent more time observing or directly sampling the work of their teams.

  • Where supervisors spent sufficient time monitoring, they found that the supervisors that provided more consequences, recognising or correcting performance had higher performing teams.

  • The best supervisors weren’t just providing more consequences but those that they were delivering were contingent on actual performance.

  • Supervisors that were more systematic about collecting information about the performance of their team members were able to deliver consequences directly related to performance.

So in a nut shell, it’s not just about the volume of consequences you provide, but also whether they are contingent on actual performance. To deliver consequences that are contingent on actual performance you have to be able to sample or monitor performance. A better way to build and assess supervisory skills is therefore to focus on the following critical supervisory behaviours: Being able to pinpoint desired results and behaviour; spending time systematically observing or directly sampling the work of their teams and last but not least spending time delivering reinforcing consequences, recognising or correcting performance. These are the behaviours that set the most effective supervisors apart from the rest.



Blogging on how to use behavioural science to make behaviour more likely