supervision-matters-3d-cover Supervision Matters

Supervision is a critical function of leadership that is often overlooked, and yet the quality of supervision is often what makes or breaks a leader—and an organization. Supervision Matters is full of bite-size ideas for how to become a more effective supervisor.

The book includes advice on how to be clear about expectations, giving helpful feedback, manage yourself, and more. Each chapter is structured around how you approach a part of your work as a supervisor: how you talk, how you think about others, how you run meetings, how you lead, and more.



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  • The number one reason people leave their jobs is because of their supervisors. (Gallup)
  • A good supervisor can improve employee satisfaction. When employee satisfaction improves by 5%, customer satisfaction improves by 1.3%, which leads to a .05% improvement in revenue. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Employee engagement has been directly linked to the effectiveness of their supervisor—e.g., the employees working for the worst leaders rate only in the 4th percentile, and those working for the best leaders are the happiest, most engaged, and most committed employees. (Harvard Business Review)
  • The Conference Board Report found that less than 1/3 of all supervisors or managers are perceived to be strong leaders. (HR Professional)
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that employers with fewer than 100 employees provided only 0.8 hours—12 minutes—of manager training per six-month period, and organizations with 100–500 employees provide only 0.9 hours (6 minutes) of training for the same time span.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Supervision Matters      

Chapter   1. How You Relate to People

Chapter   2. How You Talk

Chapter   3. How You Act

Chapter   4. How You Think About Others

Chapter   5. How You Lead

Chapter   6. How You Communicate Expectations

Chapter   7. How You Give (and Get) Feedback

Chapter   8. How You Act When Things Aren’t Working

Chapter  9. How You Work with Your Team

Chapter 10. How You Meet

Chapter 11. How You Think About You       

Chapter 12. How You Are Part of the Organization



View / Download an Excerpt from Supervision Matters


“I love this book!  It not only clarifies the difference between managing and supervising, which I had not grasped before, but you can open it anywhere to discover remarkable insight.  Rita’s voice is clear, honest, humorous and her counsel is wise and deep.  No water skiing.  Think scuba diving.  I urge anyone in a supervisory role to read Supervision Matters.  In fact, it will provoke learning for leaders of all sorts, at any level.”

–Susan Scott, CEO of Fierce, Inc. author of Fierce Conversations and Fierce Leadership


“I’ve been providing leadership development for 20 years, and I have benefited from partnering with Rita Sever the last 8 years of that journey. We now have Supervision Matters where she captures the essentials and artistry of working with the hearts and minds of those we manage. I am so grateful that Rita provides the “how to” of effectively practicing one of the most crucial domains of organizational success while also ensuring care and concern for myself.”

–Renato P. Almanzor, PhD, Senior Director of Programs, LeaderSpring
“Like all good books, Rita’s book Supervision Matters, reflects the personality of its author: practical, useful, packing a quiet punch that, cumulatively, can lead to lasting transformational effects.  Supervision is not easy, but it matters.  And, with knowledge, practice and self-awareness applied from books like Rita’s, we can all become better, even great, supervisors.”
-sujin lee, Project Director, Leadership and Strategy

–CompassPoint Nonprofit Services


“A gem of a resource! This handbook is full of support, advice, tools, and tips for those who supervise others. It is practical and comprehensive. I appreciate the distinctive focus on the unique requirements and needs of the role of supervision.

Each section comes to life through personal stories and relatable scenarios and offers a Coaching Corner with questions for reflection and self-assessment, as well as suggested practices. As a coach, I envision recommending this valuable guide to new supervisors to help them avoid or minimize common mistakes, pitfalls, and blind spots and build teams, relationships, and work climates that will strengthen engagement and performance.”

–Kathryn Gaines, Ph.D., President, Leading Pace, LLC


“With her years of “hands on” experience and wisdom, Rita Server has captured the heart of Supervision in her new book—Supervision Matters:  100 Bite-Sized Ideas to Transform You and Your Team. Her 12 chapters cover all of the key facets, but also allow the reader to focus and gain specific support in one key area at a time. It will be a great reference for everyone.   Supervision Matters is for any leader.   It deserves to be on every leader’s book shelf!”

–Diane Foster, MA, Career Development and Master Certified Coach, President of Diane Foster & Associates


“Supervision Matters provides the guidance and insight needed to handle any challenge on the path to supervision excellence. As such it is essential reading for every supervisor. Not only will it ensure that your employees are engaged, but that you are not putting your organization in legal trouble either!”

John Ford, Author of Peace at Work and founder of the HR Mediation Academy


“Rarely does anyone aspire to become a supervisor, or receive any support or training. It can be a lonely and frustrating role and as a result is usually done by the seat of our pants.  But what is supervision?! It is about supporting the PEOPLE inside our organizations. After 20 years of consulting, I can not think of any single asset that is more important to organizational impact and success than our PEOPLE! Rita gets this like no one else. “Supervision Matters” is the number one resource that I recommend to all of my clients and colleagues. Pearls of wisdom, stories we can all relate to — these pieces bring humor, compassion and down-to-earth advice to this under-appreciated and all important role. We all need “Rita’s Coaching Corner!”. Thank goodness she has put it out in the world in this way.”

–Emily Goldfarb, Director, RoadMap


“HR Professionals know that every day in the workplace is much like Vegas.  You never know the hand you will be dealt that particular day whether it be employee relations issues, team building or even self help.  Rest assured after reading Supervision Matters by Rita Sever, her book will always be “The Ace up my sleeve” to put me ahead of whatever hand I am dealt.”

–Robert Montes, HR Generalist (formerly supervised by Rita) Redwood Empire Sawmills



“The author keeps her laser focus on the ups, downs, and intricacies of supervision, and the interrelationships of these particular managers with their teams. Twelve chapters key into a supervisor’s major areas of responsibility. For example, “How You Act” addresses trust, power, taking action, communication, bad versus good practices, kindness, and self-discipline. “How You Are Part of the Organization” reveals important lessons about the role of the supervisor, including intriguing insights into office culture, the importance of policies, and bullies in the workplace. Each chapter is broken into short, discrete segments (the common-sensical book’s subtitle aptly refers to them as “bite-sized ideas”) that are a breeze to read but riddled with observations and advice based on experience. Sidebars highlight examples and on-the-job scenarios to bring relevancy to the text. “A Sample Coaching Conversation,” for instance, illustrates how a supervisor helps an employee problem-solve a missed deadline while “Approaching Conflict: Ten Steps” enumerates and describes actions to take to reduce the negative effects of conflict. Particularly helpful are the interspersed “Coaching Corner” snippets in which the author poses thought-provoking questions to engage readers. Sever’s contention is “the role of supervision is hugely underappreciated in most organizations.” This handy guide is an effective antidote to that unfortunate attitude. Punchy, concise, and reality-based; provides solid ground for the concept of supervision and should act as a day-to-day manual for both veterans and novices.”
Kirkus Reviews

“The best part…is the focus on the “soft skills” of supervision that don’t often get attention in leadership books.”
–Small Business Trends

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