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Supervision I

Course CodeVBS104
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


Develop an understanding of factors affecting supervision and strategies for more effective supervision to increase productivity. It is relevant to both supervisors and potential supervisors.

The key to success of any company or organisation is good management and the key to good management is the Supervisor. Good supervision is, in fact, the single most important factor in the success of any advanced economy.

What are the responsibilities of a supervisor? He or she may need to do a wide range of things; such as:

  • communicate with employees,
  • give directions,
  • write or dictate letters,
  • set production goals and check performances,
  • give or conduct interviews,
  • communicate with other supervisors,
  • write reports and read them,
  • check and process communications (mail, messages, emails),
  • attend meetings,
  • make decisions about new projects,
  • decide on promotions and demotions.

The skills needed to handle this array of tasks are ‑

a) Technical skills,

b) Human skills,

c) Conceptual skills.

This course will enlighten you, and provide experiences that will build your understanding of all these things and more.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction - Organisational structures & responsibilities.
  2. Understanding the work place - Government and private personnel departments, unions.
  3. Communications and human relations.
  4. Motivating employees.
  5. Organising the work place.
  6. Problem solving techniques.
  7. Discipline, complaints and grievances.
  8. Interviewing, recruitment, training.
  9. Work place safety.
  10. Dealing with management/worker participation/ report writing/ staff meetings.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Explain and create an organisational chart.
  • Describe the five basic kinds of Unions.
  • Report on what you expect to achieve by practicing good human relations.
  • Define objectives, goals, tasks to be achieved.
  • Describe what steps should be taken before re organising a section or department?
  • Draw up a work area for an office, factory etc.
  • Show step by step how you would work through the problem solving technique systematically, in order to determine a good way of dealing with this problem.
  • Write a diplomatic letter to a union in response to a complaint.
  • Draw up a suitable advertisement for a position of a "Salesperson"
  • Explain the methods most frequently used to train new employees.

Giving Staff Feedback
Sometimes staff need to be given feedback on their performance – good and bad, so managers may have to hold appraisal or disciplinary interviews.
An Appraisal Interview
An appraisal or review interview is where a manager and staff member will meet up to discuss how they are performing.  It is important to prepare properly before the interview. It is useless to run an appraisal of someone if you are not conscious of how they have been working. Appraisal should be dialogue. Employees will expect an opportunity to discuss their work.
The focus should be on their performance at work, not their personality. Their ability to meet a set range of pre-determined objectives or goals should be part of the process. It should also focus on what they do well and what they could improve upon and support on how they can do that effectively, including a few strategies and possibly an outline of proposed professional development. There is little point discussing things that neither you nor the employee has the capacity to do anything about.
Don’t reach conclusions or make decisions (or promises) in an appraisal interview unless the interviewee has had a chance of putting their opinion forward first. 
Always finish on a positive note if possible. Staff appraisals are usually carried out annually at an agreed time.
A Disciplinary Interview
Sometimes it is necessary to discipline staff, so maintaining a positive note is not always possible.  Prepare properly before the interview. It is useless to discipline someone if you are not fully conscious of how they have been working, and everything that has been going on around that person.
Before doing any disciplinary interview, be sure that you are aware of –
  • Disciplinary procedures within your organisation
  • Union rules and regulations that might apply
  • Legislation regarding employment in your country
You need to be aware of all this before carrying out a disciplinary interview to ensure that you “follow the rules”. This preparation is necessary  not only so  you are informed about various aspects that may arise in the discussion, but also in case the staff member decides to take action against you in the future for cases such as unfair dismissal.  
Also, consider – 
  • The person’s history
  • Is their recent performance out of character?
  • Has something happened in their life recently?  Have you asked?
  • Consider influences outside work, such as illness, money, family issues – all of these can affect how a person performs at work.  
  • Also consider if there have been any issues at work. Have they had difficulties with another staff member? With you? With a customer? Could these cause difficulties?  
Do not talk too much, let the person talk. Ask open questions to draw out explanations and information and listen carefully to their responses. Try to find out what is going on.  Read their body language - including the posture, eye contact, listening and reflection activities. There may be something going on that you are not aware of, so try to find out what this is. Sometimes there are rational and logical reasons why a person has behaved inappropriately, which can be resolved without taking disciplinary action. Sometimes though disciplinary action is required and this should be handled well.
Whatever happens – 
  • Do not prejudge the case, be open minded
  • Look at the facts and what has occurred
  • Try not to be influenced by opinions and hearsay or gossip from other staff
  • Try to finish on a positive (if possible)
  • Ensure that everything is recorded well and agreed by both parties and that this is signed off by both parties.

Meet some of our academics

Denise Hodges Promotions Manager for ABC retail, Fitness Programmer/Instructor, Small Business Owner, Marketing Coordinator (Laserpoint). Over 20 years varied experienced in business and marketing. More recently Denise studied naturopathy to share her passion for health and wellness. Denise has an Adv.Dip.Bus., Dip. Clothing Design, Adv.Dip.Naturopathy (completing).
John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Cheryl McLardySports Horse Stud Groom, Stable Manager, Yard Manager, Equine industrial Training Manager, FE Distance Learning Manager. Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture and equine industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. Cheryl has a B.Sc.(Hons), HND Horse Mgt, C&G Teaching Cert.
Kate GibsonKate has 12 years experience as a marketing advisor and experience as a project manager. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including London, New Zealand and Australia. Kate has a B.Soc.Sc, Post-Grad. Dip. Org Behaviour (HR).

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Psychological ProfilingPsychological profiling is used to assess anyone from potential new staff and school children to serial killers. It helps you to determine someone’s personality, neuroses, mental health and career suitability. This book provides an excellent overview of psychological profiling techniques and pitfalls.
Project ManagementLearn to manage any type of project, in any industry. Six chapters cover the nature and scope of project management, risk and uncertainty, maintaining control, interpersonal relationships, the end game, and golden rules. This is a very concise text - easy to follow, with much of the information presented in bulleted lists. 72 pages