supervisionPerson Centered Supervision and the Gallup Study

Person Centered Supervision provides a process and road map to managing employees respectfully and effectively. In 2002, the Gallup Organization set out to look at effective supervision with a comprehensive research study that spanned a twenty-five year period. The study produced many important findings, the most powerful of which is that talented employees need great managers.

Great managers understand that the foundation of a strong and productive workplace is grounded in six critical questions.

Person Centered Thinking tools, one page profiles and the Person Centered Supervision meeting process help build meaningful employee relationships and a team culture in which staff are more likely to respond ‘yes’ to these questions.

I have observed that supervisors who incorporate person centered thinking tools in their ongoing supervision work, and understand how to use a coaching approach with staff, have good success in developing positive employee relations. If you haven’t been through Person Centered Thinking training yet, I’m really sorry for the jargon! In future posts I’ll provide more information about these various tools. In the meantime, if you want to learn more you can visit the Learning Community for Person Centered Practices or Helen Sanderson Associates for some examples of person centered thinking and person centered tools mentioned in this post.


Six Critical Questions and Person Centered Tools


1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?

Try the Donut tool, originally developed by Charles Handy, to clarify areas of core responsibility and where the employee can use creativity and judgment in their work. Also try the Expectation Arrow, a tool to help you define what the request or task is, why it is is important, and what it looks like when it is done well.


2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?

One page profiles for employees include what people like and admire about the person, what is important to the person at work, and how the employee wants to be supported. Identifying equipment and resource needs in the support section of a profile can be extremely enlightening. You can also use What’s Working/Not Working or Good Day/Bad Day to tease out gaps in materials and equipment.


3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?

Use Gifts and Capacities or the Achievement Tool to help employees recognize their strengths; both the visible contributions they make and the not so obvious ones. Then you can use a variation of the Matching Tool to determine where there are opportunities to make good use of the employees gifts.


4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?

While perhaps an overused phrase, it is still important to “catch someone doing something right.”  Have your team talk about what they like and admire about the person on their left during an upcoming staff meeting. See Five Tips for Appreciating Others for more thoughts on the importance of appreciation.


5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?

Start your supervision meetings by asking “What has been going well for you at work and at home since the last time we met?” It’s remarkable how well this contributes to a sense of work/life balance and a feeling of having a personal connection at work.


6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?

Find out what is important to individual employees. Talk about hopes and aspirations, along with best way to support. Use the Working/ Not Working to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement. Invest in strengths and support gaps. Then try using 4+1 questions to explore performance gaps and arrive at a performance development plan.


For more ideas, read  “Person Centered Practices Within Organizations and Teams.” It explores the use of  person centered thinking tools in teams and organizations and includes examples of these tools and others in action. 

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