Supervisory Tips


Developing your listening skills will pay off in big dividends. When you listen effectively, the speaker feels valued. The more valued the speaker feels, the more he or she is willing to share. More information means you can make better decisions and achieve greater results.

Listening happens on multiple levels because speakers speak on multiple levels. Experienced listeners use their eyes, ears, voice and heart when they listen.





Remember: Effective listening doesn’t mean you need to agree with the speaker. It does mean you must understand the speaker’s perspective. Effective communication results from a willingness to understand even when you don’t agree.


Foremen spend a great deal of time giving information. Explaining client needs, assigning work, running meetings, clarifying expectations, providing coaching and even disciplining crew members are all examples of information you convey to others throughout the day.

As with listening, speaking occurs on multiple levels and effective speakers use all levels to ensure their message will be received and understood in the way they intended. Experienced speakers frame the message to suit the listener.





There are many ways to communicate a message. When the listener does not understand, it is up to you as the speaker to reframe your message so the listener can understand. The time and effort you invest in adjusting the way you speak to suit the needs of the listener will result in more effective actions and more satisfying relationships.

Team Building

As a foreman YOU are responsible for creating the atmosphere that makes people want to work with you, for you or against you. Concentrating on effective ways to get people to work for and with you will greatly reduce the chance of them working against you.

Most people work best in an environment where they feel valued, respected and important. In all that you do as a leader, let these needs guide your approach.

To create an effective team, be hard on expectations and be gentle on people.

Get people to work FOR you by getting them to work WITH you…

Yes, crew members are working FOR you. Someone needs to be in charge and, as the foreman, that someone is you. When crew members have confidence that someone is in charge and when they trust the person who is in charge, they are much more productive.

Get people to work for you by being clear on WHAT needs to be done. Ensure crew members know, understand and adhere to:

People will be more willing to work for you when they know they also work with you. Get people to work with you by involving them in HOW it will be done.

Be clear on what is negotiable and what isn’t. Give people as much say as possible in what they do and how they do it. Let people know what they are doing right. Deal with small problems right away so they don’t have a chance to escalate. Say thank you lots.


Coach: advise; direct, guide, help, instruct, mentor, prepare, ready, teach, train, tutor. All of these synonyms describe your to-do-list for the coaching part of your job as foreman. They also describe what you can do to have a large and lasting impact on those around you. When you invest in developing others, you also invest in yourself, your trade, and your industry. And it is rewarding, too!

How are you doing as a coach? Assess yourself on these qualities of an effective work coach. What are your strengths? Where do you need to improve?

I... Seldom Sometimes Always
am patient.
act in ways that lead people to trust me.
can explain things simply and clearly.
encourage crew members to learn.
support crew members as they learn.
am available for questions.
listen effectively.
enjoy assisting others.
use praise frequently.
teach rather than criticize.
support crew members when they make a mistake.
set a good example for how to do things.
take pride in helping crew members grow.
make crew members feel confident about their ability to solve problems.
let people make safe mistakes to promote self discovery.
provide training and support for new tasks.
create a safe environment for learning.
give people credit.
provide crew members with regular feedback.
won’t let people give up.
provide freedom to do the job.
know my way is not the only way.
ask before I tell.
make it okay for people to admit when they don’t know something.
let people make their own decisions whenever possible.

Time Management

There is usually more to do than there is time in the day. Making the most of your time will help you be more productive with less stress. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you go through your day.