supervisee supervisor relationship

Managing supervisee supervisor relationship

Introduction to Supervisee supervisor relationship

Knowledge of the supervisee supervisor relationship and competencies in establishing and maintaining effective relationships can be acquired through a combination of didactic, laboratory, and practical experience. The definition of an appropriate and effective supervisee supervisor relationship varies according to several identifiable fixed (static) and changeable (dynamic) variables. The relationship should be structured accordingly with the knowledge and consent of both supervisor and supervisee.

The supervisee supervisor relationship is an integral component in virtually all supervision orientations, though important differences exist in quality and function. The relationship between the supervisor and the supervisee has relative importance of the relationship within the total supervision process, they are some variables which influence the relationship between the supervisor and thee supervisee and the relationship differs when working with experienced versus inexperienced supervisees.

They are different supervisee supervisor relationship in order to make sure that your supervisee supervisor relationship is an effective one it is important that you and your supervisors agree how these formal requirements will work for you, you should confirm your mutual expectations and responsibilities. The supervisors are there to provide appropriate advice and guidance to the supervisee but they are not there to do the thinking for them or tell them what they should be doing at each step of the way that is why it is important to keep your supervisors informed of the progress.

Most often those who perform supervision are unavoidably in contact with those whom they supervise which bring up some sort of relationship that exists amongst them. The term supervisor-supervisee relationship refers to the manner in which the supervisor and the counselor are connected as they work together to achieve their goals. Some of the relationships are common and some are personal.  A very friendly and non-bias relationship should be established between the supervisor and the supervisee so that subordinates should not feel shy in questioning.

The relationship between the supervisor and the supervisee has relative importance of the relationship within the total supervision process. Members of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) regarded supervisor personal traits and qualities and facilitating skills as of more important than conceptual skills, intervention skills, management skills, and knowledge of program management and supervision. However, respondents rejected the notion that these traits and qualities cannot be taught, that they are the products of life-long socialization (Dye, 1987).the statement suggests that the ability to form and sustain relationships is more important than certain knowledge and skill factors, and that effective supervisee supervisor behaviors can be learned.

The existing descriptions of supervision always include discussion of the supervisor-supervisee relationship, and the way by which they communicate, the way they manage the process of reciprocal influence, affiliate, make decisions, and accomplish their respective tasks. However, the relative importance of the relationship and the role it plays varies according to supervisee supervisor orientation.

Factors that influence supervisee supervisor relationship

 They are some variables which influence the relationship between the supervisor and thee supervisee. For some, the relationship is the sine qua no n of supervision (Freeman, 1992) while for others it is a necessary but less- than-defining variable (Linehan, Wessler & Ellis, 1980). Thus, while the nature and function of the relationship differ according to several variables, which are discussed below, recent supervision literature usually includes explicit attention to this vital process. Supervisee supervisor relationship is subjected to some factors. The relationship between the supervisor and the supervisee is normally influenced by personal characteristics of the participants and by many demographic variables. The major sources of influence are static and others dynamic in nature, have been identified and discussed in reviews of the supervision literature. Among static factors receiving prominent attention are gender and sex role attitudes, supervisor’s style, age, race and ethnicity, and personality characteristics (Borders & Leddick, 1987; Leddick & Dye, 1987). Dynamic sources are those which may exist at only certain stages of the relationship or which are always present but in varying degrees or forms, such as process variables (stages: beginning vs. advanced, long term vs. time limited), and relationship dynamics (resistance, power, intimacy, parallel process, and the like) (Borders et al., 1991). Conflict, the nature and magnitude of which is likely to change across time, can have a significant influence upon the relationship. Bernard and Goodyear (1992) pointed out that conflict takes place in all relationships, and in the supervisee supervisor relationship, particularly, some of its common origins are the difference in power among the parties, differences relative to the appropriateness of technique, the amount of direction and praise, and motivation to differences resolution. All these influences can be restrained to some extent by reciprocal respect. Because of the power inherent in the role, the supervisor should take the lead in modeling this attitude if it is to be attained by both parties (Bernard & Goodyear, 1992). Ronnestad and Skovholt (1993) offered a broad explanation of effective supervision of the beginning and advanced graduate students. They concluded that “There is reasonable validity to the perspective that what is good supervision depends on the developmental level of the candidate” (1993, p. 396). The Supervisors of beginning students are supposed to provide high levels of back-up, support, response, and structure. Ronnestad and Skovholt carefully gave details that the relationship with advanced students is typically more difficult because students at this level are likely to think twice between feeling professionally insecure and professionally competent. The supervisor should take responsibility for creating, maintaining, and monitoring the relationship which serves to provide structure and a mediating role while students are in turmoil (Ronnestad & Skovholt, 1993). Consequently, supervisors of inexperienced counselors serve in a clear role as patient teachers, there is an importance upon structure and instruction. As the supervisees obtain knowledge and skill, the need for instruction reduces, and it is the supervisee supervisor relationship that offers a supportive background as advanced workers assess and reassess their professional competencies and personal qualifications.

Two additional sources of dynamic influence on the supervisee supervisor relationship have been identified by Olk and Friedlander (1993) as role ambiguity and role conflict. Role ambiguity is defined as uncertainty about supervisee supervisor expectations and methods of evaluation, while role conflict refers to expectations associated with the role of “student” in contrast with the role of “counselor and colleague”. They established that role ambiguity was more rampant the stages of training than role conflict, but the effects diminished as the student acquired counseling experience. However, role conflict seems to be more common among those with more experience. (Olk & Friedlander, 1993) suggested that supervisors should always be at alert for signs of such conflict, and that clearly teaching about roles and expectations may minimize threats to the supervisee supervisor relationship. These results relative to suggestions for the relationship as a result of learning stage are consistent with those of Ronnestad and Skovholt (1993), described above.

Supervisor-supervisee relationship, things the supervisee should do

To maintain an effective working relationship with your supervisors there are a number of things that you will need to do. Just like any working relationship, the relationship that you have with your supervisors will take time to build up and require effort on both sides to maintain and sustain.

One of the things you do is to maintain effective communication with your supervisor, and understand your mutual responsibilities and the things you expect from each other; the University’s or the management regulations define the responsibilities that you have as a research student as well as the responsibilities that your supervisors have towards you. However, how these will operate in practice will vary according to your discipline, your mode of registration (full- time, part-time, or distance learning), and the personal preferences of both you and the members of your supervisee supervisor team.

The supervisors normally expect the supervisee to take the initiative in managing your time and overcoming any difficulties that they may encounter. Just as the supervisors will expect show a Positive and Professional Attitude towards managing time and solving problems

The supervisee should maintain regular contact with your supervisors, take the initiative in maintaining regular contact with your supervisors. In part this will help to keep your supervisors informed of your progress and partly it will give them opportunities to provide you with appropriate advice and feedback. There are number of real benefits attached in maintaining regular contact with your supervisors 

Use Your Supervisors ‘ Advice and Feedback

 One of the most important responsibilities of a supervisor is to provide advice and feedback to the supervisee. They provide advice on the direction and management of the work and provide feedback on the results/findings and analysis. To be successful in your work it will be very important that you make use of your supervisors’ advice and feedback. Do not use your supervisor’s positive comment as an excuse to disregard the negative comments. Remember that: Your supervisors’ comments are based on experience, his comments are intended to be constructive, ask questions where the advice and feedback are unclear and always follow whatever advice and feedback is provided by your supervisors.

Be Open and Honest to each other.

For the supervisee supervisor relationship to good and smooth the both parties have to be open and honest with each other. Just as you should be open to receiving advice and feedback from your supervisors, so you should also be open in giving them honest updates on your work and progress. For you supervisor to be able to give all the support and help you need, you have to update him at each stage, your supervisors need you to provide them with accurate reports as to what you have been doing, how well it has gone, and what you intend to do next. This openness in reporting on your work and progress is particularly important if you encounter any difficulties. Your supervisors are the people best placed to help you minimize the impact of any problems that you might have on your progress or your work. Particularly, your supervisors can provide advice on: overcoming problems directly connected with your work by helping you identify an alternative approach, suggesting where additional training might be needed, or pointing you towards other resources or support you might not have considered what to do if you need to take a break from work.

Supervisory relationship, things the supervisor should do

One responsibility of an excellent supervisor is to build and to maintain a professional interpersonal relationship with subordinates. Good relationships lead to happy employees, which can help to increase production and to create harmony among team members. When there is a good relationship supervisors and employees they will work harder, which will the supervisor the time to focus on a bigger range of managerial roles.

The quality and sense of the relationship between a supervisor and supervisee depends on several factors. They include the relationship that may have existed before the supervisor was promoted, the company size and structure, the physical location of supervisors and employees, and even quality of the supervisee’s work. For example, if the two are peers before one of them got promoted, there could be significant changes to their once-friendly relationship. If their pre-promotion relationship was mutually respectful and supportive, chances are the supervisor-supervisee relationship won’t become one wherein one is envious of the other.

Supervisee supervisor relationship should be balanced, not too personal and not too distant. Many employers frown upon personal relationships between supervisors and the supervisee because there is a great temptation to engage in favoritism when the supervisor has an overly friendly or even a romantic relationship with a supervisee. Supervisee supervisor relationships work better, when the supervisor value their ability to work independently without an overseer checking every move.

In any industry, maintaining order in the chain of command is crucial to operational efficiency. There is the need for separation of personal and professional priorities and relationships. Supervisors should be business-first but should still be friendly and approachable by staff. Supervisor need to accountable, regardless of personal feelings or preferences, he need to remain impartial for the benefit of the business.

Building Trust

When relationships are built, trusts are built too. Relationships that facilitate trust bring about exceptional results, according to Psychology, and there are many ways to convey a message of trust. Put into practice integrity and tolerance daily activities. Correct the employee mistakes in a goo manner, so they can come to you when a mistake is made and not fear rejection, and practice your teach them. Be punctual so that the supervisee will learn from you. Show genuine care and concern for personal problems, and employees will know they can come to you when other issues arise. This will keep you in the loop whenever there is a problem or concern, such as a problem customer.

Trust encourages creativity. There are several approaches to leadership. One of the approaches is to encourage creativity through trust, you can encourage creativity when you create a relationship with employees. And when there is trust you encourage creativity by providing employees with a task to do and then tell them the expected outcome.

Create a Sense of Community

When you work together with your employees, you build a sense of community which enables everyone works together toward achieving the same goal. One way to foster this is through monthly meetings, extracurricular activities and newsletters. Ask for employee suggestions and implement the good ones, and send out monthly updates to let each employee see how their plan in action works.


It is almost impossible to build a good relationship without communication. In other to build a positive relationship with your employees, you have to make yourself more approachable. Workers will be more likely to come to you with a question or concern, or even suggest new ways to perform tasks that can increase production. Listen to their suggestions and pick the good ones. Always ask how things are going it will not make less of a supervisor but rather a good supervisor.  Be sure to listen to what your employees say, and tell them when they are doing a good job.

Personal Relationships

Relationships between management and employees do have boundaries. While it may be OK to go for after dinner drinks occasionally or discuss the latest sports scores, there is a line that you should never cross or you might find yourself being charged with workplace sexual harassment. Set boundaries. Watch for any unwanted advances, such as inappropriate touching and stay away from sensitive topics that could be offensive, including politics and religion. If you spend too much time after-hours with an employee, it can lead to feelings of unfairness, which can sabotage teams and leave others feeling left out. Some employers frown at personal relationship, but personal relationships is okay so long as it has boundaries.

There are some mistakes that supervisors should try to avoid; supervisors should be focused and in control, but they need not be tyrants. Don’t try too hard for the all-business approach; supervisors who are not personable are not usually as effective. Do not the too friendly supervisor who will always have hard time delivering the bad news to friendly subordinates.

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