Supervising and Evaluating Staff
My greatest supervision and evaluation experiences have come from my time in AmeriCorps, my summer as a NODA intern, and my classroom evaluations through U-Engage and the CAMP learning community. Based on all of these experiences, here are my thoughts on the matter:
1. Create clear expectations and explain them in various ways: Some people need to see the evaluations in writing, some prefer if you talk with them about what is expected, some need checklists of what they are expected to do. Trying to accommodate people in this way will only help when it comes to supervising and actually evaluating them.
2. Explain why the expectations are there: Is it for the benefit of incoming students, in order to make the university look better, in order to meet particular goals or missions, for safety reasons, and/or for the person doing its professional development. One of my most challenging roles as a supervisor was feeling like I was constantly having to repeat myself. It has taken me time to realize that people are more likely to do something a certain way if they know the deeper reasoning for choosing that method. Just tell them “do this, don’t do this” doesn’t work.
3. Give timely feedback: It’s hard to remember the specifics of a situation unless you handle it quickly. It is also harder for someone to alter what they do if they’ve been allowed to do it for a long time. Feedback creates a framework for improvement. It doesn’t leave someone guessing about what they can do better and where they are succeeding.
4. Praise in front of others: Nothing makes people feel better and more motivated to keep reaching greater heights than being recognized for jobs well done.
5. Evaluate people on an individual basis: Whenever possible evaluate people based on where they started and how far they have come. Do not evaluate on the basis of where they stand within a larger group, this only creates competition and unfair comparisons among groups.
6. Show that you care about those you supervise and evaluate: supervision is not about watching over people or managing them; it’s about providing them with the knowledge, feedback and experiences to grow. Evaluation is not about pointing out where people are lacking; it’s about creating a framework for increased growth and recognition of ones strengths.