Working Towards “The Healthy Package”
On several occasions I have been asked about my views on supervision within the workplace. So I will take this opportunity to share some of my thoughts. There are different types of supervision arrangements but I will focus on the one-to-one format.
As I endeavour to look at good supervision, I recognise that there are 3 main components which I can refer to when thinking about the content of overall function. These are:
1. Accountability or Managerial Function
One main part of the supervision content should acknowledge that the worker is accountable to their senior and the organisation for their tasks and the service delivery.
This means part of the supervision process is feeding back to the worker whether their work fulfills that which is required and making clear demands about what is expected of them.
2. Teaching or Educational Function
Supervision can be recognised as checking whether the worker has the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out the task and offering ways forward for them to carry out new tasks and enable them to take on challenges.
The worker may need certain information and help to enable them to do this. Furthermore, to be given the opportunity to discuss and explore various issues. Supervision must be seen to be concerned with the development of the worker over a period of time.
3. Emotional and Supportive Function
It can be recognised that the nature of our work within a residential or other setting can become very stressful to the worker. Therefore, it is important that time is given to deal with the emotional side of themselves and acknowledge this fact.
The worker may need some support and encouragement to carry out the task.
Therefore, time should be given which encourages the worker to express how they may feel about certain issues. For example, how they are coping [this may include areas of stress] or how they are getting on with other members of the team.
Staff may sometimes wish to raise certain personal concerns or pressures from their private lives which are currently affecting their performance at work.
Having summarised these three important components, it can be seen how important it is for the supervisors to try to get the balance right when it comes to the content of supervision.
It maybe that supervisors may find themselves concentrating more on one area depending on the individual worker.
This may depend on the issues the worker wishes to bring to the supervision and areas they feel are currently important to them.
Formal supervision sessions should be an integral part of working within an organisation. Furthermore, time should be found on a regular basis for informal discussions and support as needed.
The purpose of supervision will be to:
1. To have regular two way communication.
2. To enable all workers to maximise their contributions to the overall function and running of the unit.
3. To benefit individual and team growth.
4. It is agreed that the “healthy package” of supervision will address: *Management / accountability of individual. *Training, educational and development issues.*Offering emotional support relevant to the overall function and effective running of the unit.
5. It should not be assumed that information shared in supervision is confidential. However, information should be only passed on a “need to know basis.”
6. Unresolved disagreement should be resolved through line management structure.
7. Time and frequency of formal supervision sessions should be negotiated, but one hour over a four to six week period should be absolute minimum contact time.
It maybe that some organisations have other systems and requirements, but I have discussed my views and thoughts around supervision.
*Supervision allows the “machinery” to operate smoothly.
Good communication is an essential tool for any individual, group or team to progress and to achieve.
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