A Human Resource Management Primer for Supervisors

Over the lifetime of a company, its success or failure will in large part be determined by the caliber of the employees that the company is able to develop. A company’s supervisors greatly influence employees’ perceptions and their satisfaction with the company. Observations reinforced by the CEOs and human resource managers who provided feedback for this primer were that the ability of a company to achieve and maintain success is largely dependent on:

  • management decisions,
  • the company culture,
  • its ability to develop employees; and
  • its ability to retain employees.


While these topics are most likely not new topics to supervisors, different companies address these issues in many different ways. Today’s supervisors need great flexibility, skill, perspective, and judgment. As they confront new and varied challenges, they need to use an agile and versatile approach. They need to consider who they are leading, what they need, their experience, the time and resources available, and the particular situation. No single style can possibly fit all people and circumstances. The contribution of this primer was to collect and integrate some best practices in these areas into a resource that would allow supervisors to quickly identify some strategies for success when selecting an approach that responds to the requirements of their subordinates.



A. Thomas Taylor
John E. Schaufelberger


University of Washington

Publication Date:

February 2007

Format & Size:

Soft cover; vii and 23 pages

Index Number:


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