Supervisor Excellence Resources

Excellent supervisors are integral to the implementation of CAL core values, vision of creating a culture of care, and MSU Performance Excellence. It is possible to be a supervisor and not a leader.  It is possible to be a leader and not a supervisor. 

Excellent supervisors are ones that exhibit an interconnected blend of leadership, coaching, managing and mentoring skills. 

Manager & Supervisor



Styles of Leadership



What is coaching?  Easy steps to follow during a coaching session. Effective coaching connects the person being coached with their own ability to define problems, create solutions and hold themselves accountable.

Coaching Toolkit and Resources

Source: Leading with Coaching, MSU Human Resources Executive Education, School of Human Resources & Labor Relations.


Trademarked by Kneisha Sanders, ACC, M.S. Resolution Coaching LLC.  Use with permission.


How you can use Coachmanship™to build stronger teams [PDF]

Liberating Structures
Engagement Strategies for meetings and team building

Performance Excellence

Find information about the Performance Excellence process, access required online training and supplementary training opportunities, and download Performance Excellence forms and other helpful supervisor tools.   Tips and Tools. 

Disciplinary Action

Know the Process, Procedures and Policies

Best Practices

  • Don't assume that employees understand where they may not be in alignment with expectations.  What may seem clear to you, may not be clear at all to someone else.  
  • Keep in mind that most office conflict is rooted in confusing roles and responsibilities. As supervisor, you must be clear and consistent about roles and responsibilities, expectations, parameters, and accountability.
  • Start the communication process in face to face conversations.  It is easy to misread tone and concern in an email or memo; relying on emails can escalate tension rather than resolving what may start as a minor issue.  Keep small issues small but addressing them in real time, consistently and appropriately.
  • Praise in public, but address corrections, counseling and reprimands in private
  • Email is a good resource for follow up.  Give a brief summary of the issue and confirm agreed actions.  This creates a written record documenting with date and time stamp when an issue was addressed.
  • If situations aren't resolved and/or behaviors continue, it is the supervisor's responsibility to coach and document, following the process and procedures laid out in the union contract and MSU policies and procedures. For the next steps it is essential that you contact the college Human Resources Director and make them aware of the situation. 
  • Counseling Memos are the next step up in addressing corrective behavior.  Like an email follow up, you'll give a brief synopsis of the issue and then focus on the corrected behaviors that are expected. 
  • Support Staff Disciplinary Action Policy & Procedure
    • Investigation (verbal warning, written reprimand, suspension) 
    • Disciplinary action--Verbal Warning
    • Disciplinary action--Written Reprimand
    • Disciplinary action--Suspension pending investigation
    • Disciplinary action--Suspension
    • Disciplinary action--Discharge

As supervisor you may encounter varying degrees of behavior that needs guidance and correction, from repeated tardiness, to hostile work environments that are being created through micro and macro-aggressions.  You may have to deal with how someone's implicit biases affect their interactions with co-workers or students.  You might have to address theft or embezzlement.

As serious as your supervisor duties are, remember that you are not alone. Familiarizing yourself with the correct reporting chain, tools and resources available to supervisors builds your resilience and flexibility to address issues in real time with professionalism, compassion and firm accountability. It is important to understand that there are situations where you are required to call in the assistance of the College Human Resources Director.  When in doubt--reach out.  

And finally, keep a work journal. Memory fades and might alter over time.  It is very important to capture the facts in real time.  Be specific. Focus on facts not second hand information, gossip or impressions.  The more serious the situation, the more essential it is to have a real time written narrative capturing the facts.  It's suggested that you might send yourself an email and save it in a folder for future reference.

Remember to also capture the positive and successful triumphs and not just focus on negative behaviors and interactions. This becomes a very useful tool that you can refer to when it comes time for annual reviews and goal setting. 

Skill Building Toolkit

Personal Awareness

"Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have." --Robert Holden

Know your Personality Strengths and Traits

  • Strength Finder 2.0  Discover what you do best
  • DiSC  Did you know? MSU HR offers regular classes on DiSC to help you learn your leadership strengths and improve your ability 
  • Myers Briggs
  • True Colors  Taking an online test is only part of the value of this program.  An orientation or group facilitated activity increases understanding of how to leverage weaker colors as needed.  Great for personal awareness, team building, customer service and strengthening communication.

Emotional Intelligence


Time Management

Self Confidence

Courage and Persistence

The Healing Power of Guided Imagery class offered by Health4U  Guided Imagery has been shown to alleviate pain, reduce depression and boost the immune system.

Ethics, Morality & Integrity

Integrity “is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.” --C.S. Lewis
Ethics Defined: Integrity [video]

Personal Branding

The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand [Video] Building a recognizable personal brand opens professional opportunities.

Political Skill

Political skill as the ability to identify and understand the motivations and needs of others to influence others to ensure the attainment of individual, group or organizational goals.

Interpersonal Skills

Why you should start meetings with a check-in

Creative Change Ability

Build a Tower, Build a Team [TED Talk]

Functional Knowledge

In order to be an excellent supervisor it is important to have solid competencies in your specific area of work. is an excellent reference guide for everything from HR and Payroll to Budget and Finance; Chair support to Staff Development; Travel, Events and Outreach to Emergency Preparedness; along with Graduate and Academics. Please refer to the quick links on the right side of this page for links to these areas.

Additional Resources

Suggested books, videos, seminars, workshops and training 

Training Opportunities[PDF]

Videos, TED talks and books [PDF]