Supervising Others

Posted: November 8th, 2023

The work of a supervisor can be challenging, especially if the individual is a first-time manager. The role requires a person to possess a particular set of leadership skills and styles to facilitate effective management. While the common perception of supervision is that it is restricted to productivity, the role is expansive, covering basic management skills and the application of working knowledge to enhance corporate and individual progress.

Democratic and servant leadership styles facilitate quality supervision in social work. Democratic leadership emphasizes the participation of group members in the decision-making process (Rosing et al., 2022, p.2). The leadership style accords subordinates with sufficient autonomy for task completion, which motivates dedication to delivering high-quality work. On the other hand, the servant leader believes in serving the greater good (Allen et al., 2016, p.5). Group members under a servant leader are more likely to perceive that they are recognized, respected, and appreciated.

The supervisor in the Petrakis video highlights several supervisory attributes that improve the quality of his management. Foremost, the supervisor illustrates coaching leadership. Through frequent feedback, the supervisor educates Cindy on the perils of offering clients advice instead of letting them make the decisions. The leader does not focus on criticizing Cindy for her mistake and instead opts to build her long-term potential. There is also the portrayal of transformational leadership. The supervisor provides the client with sufficient information and options on what to do to facilitate positive behavioural changes.

While the supervisor demonstrated suitable supervision, the leadership quality was moderate. The Petrakis video shows that the supervisor was not attentive or sympathetic to Cindy and the client’s emotions and reactions. Supervisors are anticipated to identify and respond to feelings supervisees might have that interfere with their quality of services (National Association of Social Workers, 2013, p. 13). Paying more attention to the subordinate would make them more comfortable and confident working with the patient.

Supervision is key to the effectiveness of social work education. The instructors provide critical experience during student progression from the classroom to the field. The Petrakis case highlights the importance of active listening in social work because it facilitates the provision of positive feedback to learners. Given that social work learners cannot articulate the meaning of field experiences; the supervisory relationship is responsible for shaping how the students approach their overall fieldwork.


Allen, G. P., Moore, W. M., Moser, L. R., Neill, K. K., Sambamoorthi, U., & Bell, H. S. (2016). The role of servant leadership and transformational leadership in academic pharmacy. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 80(7), 1-5.

National Association of Social Workers. (2013). Best practice standards in social work supervision. Association of Social Work Boards.

Rosing, F., Boer, D., & Buengeler, C. (2022). When timing is key: How autocratic and democratic leadership relate to follower trust in emergency contexts. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, 1-18. 

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