Supervising Employees Whose Jobs You Don’t Understand

Sharon Boyd has nearly 25 years of experience between both the healthcare and marketing industries. In addition to being an RDH and content writing expert, she also holds a degree in business. Her responsibilities primarily include tackling the communication barriers between small business owners or healthcare providers and their prospective clientele.

Supervising Employees Whose Jobs You Don’t Understand

Depending on which industry you work in, it might be possible for business owners, managers, or supervisors to be “over” people who have technical licenses or skills that the managers themselves aren’t able or know how to perform.

For example, you might have a person who works as a translator for certain clients, or perhaps you work in the medical industry and manage a practice with on-staff physicians, who are well over your own pay grade. It may be impossible to know what they’re even doing, without bringing in a separate subject matter expert to provide a consultation.

Regardless of the situation, managers can still be effective leaders even if they don’t fully understand or know how to perform the job roles of the people they supervise.

Leading by example, managers can show good work ethics by doing, not just saying. From your outward appearance to how you interact or speak with other people, your tone and demeanor is one that should be appropriate for everyone in the office. Speak to each person - customer or staff - in the same manner. Encourage your staff to do the same.

Get to know your employees as best as possible. Even if you don’t comprehend a project it doesn’t mean you can’t relate to the person handling it. As you get to know your team on a one-on-one basis, you’ll understand what drives them or helps them work more effectively. Even if it comes down to just being familiar with their hobbies or family life.

Be firm, but accessible. When you make decisions, don’t doubt yourself. Stick to them. But at the same time, make it so that your team can come to you about issues knowing you’ll have an empathetic ear. Look them in the eye, practice active listening, and repeat back what they’ve told you along with your opinion on what needs to be done. Being easily accessible will facilitate better communication among the entire team, so you know what’s happening in your business.

Set goals for everyone. Be it time, monetary, or another piece of data that can be measured. If you’re not sure what’s possible because it’s an area not in your field, ask them what reasonable goals they feel they should be making, and what’s just out of reach. Then constantly work each year to make the unreachable happen.

Attend professional development training with your staff. That way you’ll know what they’re being taught by industry leaders, again, even if it’s not in your field. The concepts and themes will still be one that you can take back to the office and adapt into your annual goals.

So many aspects of being a “good” employee aren’t even necessarily related to specific skill sets. Arriving on time, being respectful and helpful to the people around you don’t take any type of special training. They all go back to work ethic and attitude, both of which are crucial to every salary level and person making up your team.