you with their problems. In other cases, you will have to
recognize the existence of a problem and discover its
nature on your own. You should be able to recognize
changes in behavior that often signal problems. Some
indicators of an individuals need for help may be
declining job performance, changes in attitude, or
withdrawal from friends and associates. Difficulty
getting to work on time, constant demands on a
supervisors time, and rebellion against authority or the
system in general often indicate personal problems. Do
you remember the old saying about 20 percent of the
people causing 80 percent of the problems? You can
expect to spend 80 percent to 90 percent of your
personnel admin time on 20 percent of the people.
Your job as a supervisor is to get 100 percent team effort
from your assigned workers.
When counseling is necessary, no matter what the
reason, you should first try to set the stage. What does
that mean? If possible, wait until after normal work
hours or at least until a lull occurs in the tempo of
operations to talk with the individual. Try to find a quiet
place where interruptions will not occur. You may have
difficulty finding a quiet place in many operating
environments, but do the best you can. Your quiet place
may be an office or a vacant corner of the hangar deck,
but try to get as much privacy as circumstances allow.
Nondirective counseling occurs when you allow your
subordinates to determine the direction of sessions. Your
primary task is to listen to what they are saying. Show
you are actively listening by reacting to what is said.
Occasionally restate what has been said. Try to develop
a nonevaluative style of listening and responding. That
will encourage individuals to open up and work out
frustrations, fears, and worries without fear of
embarrassment. Often, simply letting people talk out
problems can help them find a solution. Use occasional,
general questions to guide the conversation. Avoid
questions that can be answered yes or no.
Often your counseling efforts will consist of little
more than providing information, pointing out
infractions, or pointing out failure to use common sense.
How you counsel will depend entirely upon your
personality and the personality of the individual receiving
the counseling. Use common sense in developing your
approach. At other times you will have to work a little
harder to get to the root of a problem and help find a
solution. When an individual approaches you with a
request for specific information or your opinion,
provided it is of a professional nature and not a personal
nature, guide them to a resolution. Exercise caution when
expressing opinions, however, as they can become loaded
guns if not carefully thought out and expressly worded.
If the concern is of a personal nature, provide them with
sources of help. The Navy has trained professionals for
this sort of help. We all want to help our shipmates;
however, caution should be exercised when providing
assistance with personal matters.
You, as a frontline supervisor, are the first link in
spotting problems. You are in daily contact with the
workers in your unit or division. Be sure you know how
to spot problems and counsel your workers. If you can't
solve a problem, pass it up the chain of command. If you
ignore it, it may grow into a bigger problem.
Don't be afraid to seek help when faced with an
unfamiliar situation. Your chain of command, chaplain's
office, legal officer, and personnel office often can help
solve problems or offer advice. Be aware of the resources
available to you. The morale and job performance of
your people depend on your ability to manage human
resources. Unless you make a conscious effort to develop
that ability, your leadership will never reach its full
REVIEW 3 QUESTIONS
Q1. How can you train an unskilled subordinate while
performing a task?
Q2. When you determine safety requirements for a
task, what is a shelf-life requirement?
Q3. What documents can be used to determine the
tools that are needed for a specific task?
Q4. In order to track your crews progress, what must
it be measured against?
Q5. Task performance standards consist of what
Q6. When you give a status report to your supervisor,
what is meant by the four Bs?
Q7. What type of feedback is given when job
performance standards are not being met?