Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Principles of Supervision

One of the key responsibilities of the District Superintendent is that of supervision.  For me, the purposes of supervision are to help someone improve skills, identify patterns of behavior that may be producing ineffectiveness, affirm strengths, reinforce strengths, and to share from my experience, drawing on my failures and lessons learned along the way.  I do not see myself as some ministry whiz kid imparting vast knowledge from the mountain top.  Supervision comes with the DS territory and I bring my experience for better or worse.  I want our supervisory relationship to one that helps them grow to their next level and helps me help facilitate this growth.  I want to challenge them.  I am committed to honesty in supervision.  To me supervision is pointless unless specific problems and practices are clearly identified and persons are encouraged and equipped with workable options.  I believe good supervision leaves a person's ego in tact.  I believe that good supervision is clear about expectations.  I believe that good supervision gives encouragement.  While there are some issues that involve specific legal processes as specified in our Discipline, some basic principles I use for general supervision that I use are:

1.  Open with prayer.

2.  I always remember that throughout most of my career, I have been extended much grace when I have done less than my best, and gotten into a mess.  I want to pass that on.

3. I do not do supervision that involves reprimands, has negative connotations, or addresses mistakes, bad judgement or inappropriate conduct over the phone, by email or correspondence.  If there is a serious issue to be addressed, it is face to face.

4.  Occasionally a pastor will call and we will process an issue over  the phone.  If we need further in depth discussion, we will meet face to face.

5.  I begin the discussion with clearly describing the issue and ask them how they understand it.  I always get context.  They tell their story.  I inquire as to whether or not they were familiar with any policies, rules, laws or disciplinary guidelines.  I share any adverse consequences or fallout that may have come from their actions or inactions.  I discuss accountability and responsibility on both our parts.  I try to learn why they did what they did the way they did.

6.  I try to help them understand how their action or failure to act produced results or set things in motion that were not helpful to them, their ministry or to the church.

7.  I  have conversation with them to see what insights they have gained and how they would do it differently next time.

8.  If necessary, we develop a plan with measurable benchmarks.  This will become a topic of their annual review with me in terms of progress.

9.  Close with prayer.

Blessings, Bill

No comments:

Post a Comment