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Section 15
Shifting the Responsibility from Supervisor to Supervisee

Question 15 | Test | Table of Contents

When a supervisor appeals to his boss or the human resources department for authority to take disciplinary action or terminate an employee, it's common for the response to be, "Have you done everything that you needed to do?" While it's easy to ask this question, it's rare that the HR rep or senior supervisor is able to specify exactly what it is that the supervisor is responsible for doing.

There are five-and only five-things that a supervisor is responsible for doing before he can legitimately say, "I have done everything I am responsible for doing." These five things are to clearly specify the exact gap between desired performance and the employee's actual performance, provide whatever training is available to develop the needed knowledge and skills, remove any obstacles that prevent the individual from performing properly, provide feedback so the individual knows exactly how well he or she is doing, and arrange appropriate consequences so that the person doesn't find himself punished for doing a good job or rewarded for performing poorly. For each these items I have listed below two questions to ask to be sure that management's responsibilities have been met:

Clarify expectations
o Can the individual explain exactly what is expected?
o Does the individual understand the exact gap between desired performance and actual performance?

Provide training
o Does the employee have the knowledge and skills needed to do the job?
o Has the individual received the same training as other supervisees?

Arrange appropriate consequences
o What happens to the individual:
1) when he performs properly?
2) when he does not perform properly?
o Does doing the job properly or quickly produce unpleasant consequences?

Provide feedback
o How does the individual know exactly what's expected?
o How does the employee know exactly how well or how poorly he's doing?

Remove obstacles
o Does the person receive any conflicting messages or instructions?
o Does the employee have the time, the tools, the equipment, the authority, and the support needed to do the job?

Once the supervisor has asked and answered these questions, he has done everything that he is responsible for. The burden for solving the problem now shifts to the employee. No longer will the supervisor, the night before he fires a supervisee, have to grapple with the question, "Is there anything else I could have done?'
- Grote, Dick, Discipline Without Punishment, AMACOM: New York, 2006

Personal Reflection Exercise #8
The preceding section contained information about shifting responsibility from supervisor to supervisee. Write three case study examples regarding how you might use the content of this section in your practice.

Approaching Training-Practice Gaps After the Transition:
A Practice Proposal for Supervision After Training

- Ten Cate, O., & Favier, R. P. (2022). Approaching Training-Practice Gaps After the Transition: A Practice Proposal for Supervision After Training. Frontiers in medicine, 9, 881274.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Chui, H., Li, X., & Luk, S. (2021). Does peer relationship matter? A multilevel investigation of the effects of peer and supervisory relationships on group supervision outcomes. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 68(4), 457–466.

Falender, C. A. (2018). Clinical supervision—the missing ingredient. American Psychologist, 73(9), 1240–1250.

Gibson, A. S., Ellis, M. V., & Friedlander, M. L. (2019). Toward a nuanced understanding of nondisclosure in psychotherapy supervision. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 66(1), 114–121.

What five concepts clearly specify the exact gap between desired performance and the supervisee's actual performance? To select and enter your answer go to Test

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