Top 10 Skills of Top-Performing Production Supervisor

Skills of Top-Performing Production Supervisor

A great supervisor can make all the difference when it comes to employee satisfaction and the overall success of the business. What makes them great? What are they doing to earn that title? Here are some of the most important skills top-performing production supervisors possess, skills every business owner should look for in hiring and training new supervisors at their businesses.

1) Productivity

Productivity is an essential skill for every top-performing production supervisor. After all, you want to be able to get things done, right? So if you're looking to become one of these professional-grade gurus, here are some skills that should make your wish list: First and foremost, keep work at work. While it can be tempting to bring your laptop home or take work calls in your off-hours, resist! The boundaries between life and work are there for a reason. As far as home is from office, so too must be life from work. Your family will thank you for taking care of yourself—and having fun doing it!

2) Communication

Communication is one of the most essential skills a top-performing production supervisor can have. You'll be working directly with employees and it's your job to make sure they're all on board and doing what they're supposed to be doing at any given time. Communication skills help you relay new information and relay updates about what has been done. Successful communication helps keep things on track while preventing problems from growing out of hand. Effective communication is more than just talking, too—it also involves listening, reading between lines, and making sure people understand you before you move on to something else.

3) Delegation

This is a critical skill for top-performing production supervisors because it’s important to provide employees with opportunities to develop their skills. A top supervisor must be able to identify each employee’s strengths and weaknesses, then establish goals that are both challenging and manageable. For example, she might ask an employee with low attention to detail to plan for next week’s weekly meeting instead of writing memos. Or she might assign an overworked but creative employee to oversee a small group project rather than do all of it herself. This is not only beneficial for career development but also keeps employees engaged in their jobs and results in better work.

4) Leadership

Make sure your team can execute. Communication: As a supervisor, you have a responsibility to your employees that extends beyond getting their work done. You must also ensure that they’re safe and that they have everything they need to do their jobs well. It’s not enough to merely point out a problem and walk away—you need to be involved in solving it. For example, if one of your employees consistently shows up late for work because she doesn’t have a car or transportation options, find her alternative transportation solutions—even if it means driving her yourself sometimes. Then set strict parameters on when she has to arrive for work in order for you both to be on time.

5) Motivation

The most important skill for a top-performing production supervisor is motivation. Though it's not unusual for production supervisors to get started in their careers through experience and training, without ambition and drive, you won't get very far. You can't be afraid to take risks and stay up late to do what it takes to get your team where they need to be. 

Your ability to motivate your team will often determine whether or not your business succeeds. As a production supervisor, you must also be able to take on responsibility, set goals, and delegate tasks if you want your business to thrive. Not everyone has what it takes; if you do, don't wait around for someone else. Be brave enough to try something new and make a difference in your business today!

6) Project Management

A production supervisor (sometimes referred to as a production manager) makes sure that all steps in a project are completed on time and within budget. Although it’s important for supervisors to have great people skills, their work requires them to be very organized, detail-oriented, and able to think critically about problems. Critical thinking is one skill that separates top-performing supervisors from other ones. They need to know how to formulate questions, gather information, and come up with potential solutions before handing it off to someone else. To continue learning more about great skills for production supervisors, click here!

7) Decision Making

No supervisor likes making decisions. But how many times have you thought, If only I'd known what to do at that moment? There is no getting around it—if you are in charge, you are going to have to make decisions. So what can be done? As a supervisor, you can take responsibility for your decision-making. 

Your organization will function better if you are consistent in your decision-making. If there is one thing that top-performing supervisors do consistently well, it is they consistently make consistent decisions based on consistent criteria and clear reasoning. Consistency in decision-making is a hallmark of top performance within production supervision because all actions by staff members depend on the consistency of action by their supervisors in order for them to provide efficient production efficiency for their organizations.

8) Conflict Resolution

One of your main duties as a production supervisor is keeping team members in communication. That means keeping lines of communication open so that workers are comfortable voicing their opinions and concerns with you—even if it's something they may not have felt comfortable bringing up with their direct manager. As you develop your communication skills, conflict resolution will become easier for you because your goal will be to help resolve these conflicts rather than shut them down. Developing these skills may take some time, but you'll eventually find yourself thinking like a manager and working with teams rather than individuals.

9) Time Management

As a supervisor, you have little control over how much work is thrown your way. What you do have control over is how to use your time in an efficient manner. It’s easy to get sucked into firefighting mode when there are problems to solve, but it’s more important that you stay on track with productivity initiatives for long-term success. 

A production supervisor who knows how to allocate her time wisely will be able to keep her employees engaged and productive even in times of chaos. Time management skills are key for top-performing supervisors because they help ensure team members spend their hours focused on work that creates value for the company—not lost in meetings or responding to non-critical email messages.


In our work with top-performing manufacturing supervisors, we have identified ten critical skills that characterize a high-performing production supervisor. That doesn’t mean someone without these skills can’t be a great supervisor. However, if you want to be a high performer, it is a good idea to develop these skills. The five key characteristics of top performers are 1) Great leadership and interpersonal skills; 2) Great team building and consensus builder; 3) Superior problem solving and decision-making skills; 4) High-performance standards for self and others; 5) Passionate dedication to continuous improvement. Each of these characteristics has supporting skills associated with it.



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