Setting up the Supervisory Relationship: Understanding and Adapting Your Supervisory Style

Last updated June 24, 2022

Course Length

1h 55m

Last Updated

June 24, 2022

Setting up the Supervisory Relationship: Understanding and Adapting Your Supervisory Style

Last updated June 24, 2022

Build and deepen the supervisory relationship with new and existing staff members.


Developing a strong supervisory relationship with each staff member goes a long way in ensuring future success for both the individual and the team. In order to accomplish this, you must understand and be able to articulate your own supervisory style—and learn how to adapt it to the styles and work preferences of your team. Having this shared understanding of styles on both sides will help to anchor the supervisory relationship and fortify it in the face of the challenges that naturally occur in our day-to-day work.

You will leave this two-hour virtual training with a deeper understanding of your preferred supervisory style, of how and why you might adapt it for individual staff members, and how to engage in productive conversations with new or existing direct reports to build a strong supervisory relationship. You will also complete a useful pre-event exercise to better understand yourself as a supervisor to ground the work of the training.

We will explore key questions like the following:

  • How do you identify and articulate your own supervisory style?
  • How can you come to understand the work styles of your direct reports?
  • How do you have a productive conversation with a new (or existing) direct report to set up the relationship and learn about each other’s styles?
  • How should you go about adapting your style to the needs of your direct reports? Why is it important to do this, when is it appropriate, and how might you accomplish it?

Who should attend?

This training is designed for supervisors of professional staff who want to feel more confident in their supervisory skills—in particular, those who seek to build a strong supervisory relationship, to get the best from their people.


August 10, 2022

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Eastern

Review of supervisory styles and reflection exercise results:

Our instructor will discuss common supervisory styles and how they relate to the pre-event exercise. You will gain insight into your preferred supervisory style and into the strengths and opportunities people with that style typically possess.


Understanding the work styles of your direct reports

We will explore how different personalities, professional identities, life, and work experiences can impact how we function in a job role, and how individuals prefer to be supported differently by their supervisors.


Setting up the supervisory relationship

In this section, you will learn how you can have a discussion with your direct reports about each of your supervisory styles to set up a productive working relationship. We will discuss what questions to ask, how much to share, and how to converse in a way that builds trust and mutual understanding.


Adapting your supervisory style

At the core of the supervisory relationship are people, and as supervisors we must be able to tailor and adapt our styles to the needs of each individual person. In this section, you will learn about the importance of adapting your style and discuss situations in which this may or may not be appropriate. We will also examine specific scenarios to make the learning concrete. For example, if your preferred style is more hands-off but you have a staff member who needs clear and regular direction, how can you adapt your approach to support their success?