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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Blackman

Effective Supervisory Skills

Several effective supervisory practices have been outlined in the literature. First, the supervisor must work to establish an effective supervisory relationship. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to communicate expectations and continuously work toward a positive, working relationship. 

Next, the supervisor should create a plan for structured supervision and competency-based evaluation. To assist supervisors in understanding provider strengths and deficits, frequent observations of integrity - the degree to which programs are implemented as designed - should be conducted. This is critical information supervisors need to understand what skill sets to work on with each provider. Continuous integrity monitoring and feedback are critical for the initial and ongoing success of providers.  

Bidirectional feedback is critical in a supervisory relationship. This means that supervisors should evaluate the effects of their supervision through informal (e.g., conversation) or formal (e.g., anonymous survey) feedback. Once feedback is provided, supervisors should work toward accepting the feedback and responding to it accordingly. 

Lastly, supervisors should be invested in the professional growth of those they supervise. Conversations about growth within the organization and field should occur with each provider. The information gathered can be used to assist supervisors in creating goal plans to help their providers reach those goals. Additionally, ethical or other difficult situations may arise at any time. The supervisor should make themselves available to role-play how to respond to various situations or provide support to their providers in other ways.

To assist supervisors in engaging in these practices, organizations should have processes in place. That is, organizations should outline what is expected from clinical supervisors during their training and ongoing support. This includes ensuring clinical supervisors have time into their schedule to engage in these activities, explaining expectations for the frequency of competency-based evaluations, and guiding supervisors to achieve effective supervision if they are struggling. 


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