In a typical performance evaluation, the manager reviews the employee. But in a supervisor evaluation, the opposite takes place. A supervisor evaluation by employees shows managers how to improve. Doing them regularly will give managers vital insights into their performance.

Why is this important? Supervisors need to continuously work to develop, just like any employee. Half of all employees feel their own performance would improve if their supervisor improved, SHRM says. 6 in 10 believe their manager needs more training. And 84% believe poorly trained managers cause a lot of headaches and stress!

Gaining feedback should be a two-way street. Yet managers typically don’t receive a lot of feedback from direct reports. A supervisor evaluation by employers can give them the input they need.

We’ll discuss how to conduct a great supervisor performance evaluation. We’ll also address what to avoid—and helpful tools for getting started. Then, we’ll share a sample supervisor evaluation template and questions. But first, let’s more thoroughly define what a supervisor evaluation is.

Navigation

1. What Is A Supervisor Evaluation

2. How to Conduct A Good Supervisor Evaluation

3. What to Avoid in A Supervisor Evaluation

4. The Best Supervisor Evaluation Tools

5. Supervisor Evaluation Template and Questions

What Is a Supervisor Evaluation?

A supervisor evaluation by employees asks how managers perform in key areas. According to Gallup, the following seven areas represent critical aspects of leadership:

  • Building relationships
  • Developing people
  • Creating change
  • Communicating effectively
  • Inspiring others
  • Thinking critically
  • Taking accountability

A good supervisor performance evaluation provides a balanced view of these areas. 

You could expand your supervisor evaluation into a full 360-degree review if you prefer. In this process, various people appraise the supervisor’s performance. They may include peers and clients as well as direct reports. Direct reports’ evaluations would make up one central part of the review.

Main purpose:

The supervisor evaluation will help managers set personal improvement goals. This feedback will inform them in creating a performance improvement plan. It also brings one important additional benefit: showing employees you value their input. Conducting supervisor evaluations affirms that their voice matters. 

What it’s not:

The supervisor evaluation is not a forum for ranting about a manager’s character flaws. Rather, you’re looking for candid but professional feedback. Stick to a focus on behaviours. Further, respondents shouldn’t analyze the causes of managers’ behaviours. The evaluation should simply ask them about what they’ve actually observed.

How to Conduct a Good Supervisor Evaluation

Three employees at desk doing supervisor evaluation
Credit: Anna Shvets/Pexels

A supervisor performance evaluation follows several best practices.

  • Design a survey (or use a template) with behaviour-focused questions. This will give you the most objective input possible.
  • Assure employees that you’ll keep their identifying information confidential. 
  • Explain how the information will be used (i.e., for personal development). They may fear giving feedback if they believe it could negatively affect their manager.
  • Send out the survey, providing instructions on how to use the rating scale. Make sure everyone can complete it in private. 
  • If you include open-ended questions, give instructions on how to answer them. Ideally, respondents will avoid making judgments or generalizations. Urge them to focus on facts and observations. 
  • Interpret the information. Draw key conclusions that you’ll highlight to the supervisor. Find supporting points to illustrate ideas. If responses to open-ended questions sound judgmental, distill them into more helpful feedback.

    For example, “She doesn’t care at all about how others are feeling” could be presented as, “You could show more empathy by asking about how employees are doing. Sometimes they may be afraid to speak up and say they’re struggling.”
  • Hold a meeting with the supervisor to discuss the findings. Together, you can create an action plan. (Either an HR leader or the supervisor’s boss can do this.) Taking action is a vital part of gaining feedback. It not only benefits the manager but shows employees the process benefits them!

What to Avoid in A Supervisor Evaluation

Teo colleagues discussing supervisor evaluation
Credit: Alexander Suhorucov/Pexels

Avoid these serious pitfalls of manager evaluations. They can unintentionally sabotage the success of the process.

  1. Accidentally creating bias

Don’t wait until after employee evaluations to begin this process. That could lead to biased results—whether overly positive or negative. Instead, collect employees’ evaluations before their own performance reviews occur. You might then deliver this feedback to supervisors after employee reviews conclude.

Or, conduct the supervisor evaluation at a completely different time of year.

  1. Leaving the supervisor to interpret the feedback.

Don’t just hand the supervisor a pile of evaluations at the end of the process. Like any employee, they need help synthesizing the information. Plus, organizations often want to keep identifying information confidential. This will help the manager avoid developing bias toward individual employees.

An HR staff member should compile the results and keep names confidential. They can share the overall findings of the evaluations at the end of the process.

  1. Unintentionally breaking confidentiality.

Say you’ve protected employees’ identities. But when discussing the findings with the manager, you mention a story an employee shared. The manager knows it could only pertain to one employee. Guess what? You’ve inadvertently broken confidentiality. To avoid this situation, don’t relay details that the employee may have shared in confidence.

Try to distill these anecdotes into the key issues they highlight. 

  1. Giving vague feedback.

Consider talking with employees to gain more detailed feedback if need be. Here are a few scenarios where that can prove helpful:

  • If they voice strong opinions in open-ended questions.
  • When their answers are vague.
  • If the answers are ambiguous.

Try to dig deeper if possible by meeting with them one on one. You may gain more nuanced, specific feedback that way.

Now let’s examine several tools that can enhance your supervisor evaluations.

The Best Supervisor Evaluation Tools

Using the right tools will not just make the supervisor evaluation process easier. They’ll also provide more useful and balanced feedback.

  • A performance reviews module can help you manage the process. It provides a structured evaluation guide and prompts you to take the next steps. A good tool provides an evaluation questionnaire template that you can customize.
  • A 360-degree feedback tool can also assist with the process. It’s especially helpful if you want to survey additional people (not just direct reports). A good tool will provide customizable questionnaires and walk you through the process. Plus, it helps you analyze the data.

Use whichever of these two tools best meets your needs. Either will dramatically simplify the process if you choose a user-friendly module.

Supervisor Evaluation Template and Questions

Supervisor evaluation questions should focus on observations. They can either be phrased as questions or as statements. Include a rating scale with at least 5 points (e.g., a Likert scale). 

Here is a sample supervisor evaluation.

Supervisor’s Name: _____________

Reviewer’s Name: ___________

Date: ________

Years with Manager: ___________

We are seeking feedback on your manager’s performance to assist in personal development. Your honest feedback will help your manager improve. Your input will remain confidential. We will only share the combined results from all employees with your manager.

Supervisor evaluation rating scale
Credit: SHRM

Please rate how well your manager does each of the following supervisor evaluation scale of 1–6. 

Building relationships

  • Shares appreciation for my work.          1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Encourages collaboration between team members.          1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Shows empathy when I experience challenges.                         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Demonstrates concern for my wellbeing.           1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Fosters a harmonious team culture.           1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6

Developing people

  • Supports my training and development.          1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Gives me regular feedback (i.e., at least several times a week).           1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Asks about my goals and dreams.          1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Tailors my training to my ambitions.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Assigns me to projects that stretch my skills.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6

Creating change

  • Shares a clear vision with the team.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Encourages and praises creative problem-solving.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Convinces others to believe in a vision for change.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Prompts me and my team members to voice innovative ideas.          1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Brings team ideas to company leadership when appropriate.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6

Communicating effectively

  • Gives clear directions.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Articulates expectations candidly.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Seeks input from all team members.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Listens carefully when people speak.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Leads productive team meetings.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6

Inspiring others

  • Brings positive energy to the group, even in challenging times.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Tells engaging stories to illustrate ideas.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Emphasizes the importance of my work and our team’s work.           1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Serves as a role model for personal growth.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Models healthy time-management and work habits.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6

Thinking critically

  • Effectively guides the team in solving problems.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Bases decisions on solid evidence.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Skillfully shapes project plans.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Invites new and unexpected ways of doing things.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Draws connections between different perspectives and ideas.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6

Taking accountability

  • Welcomes constructive feedback.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Admits to mistakes quickly after becoming aware of them.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Takes action to remedy errors.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Strives to be transparent about issues that concern the team.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6
  • Works to tackle problems head-on.         1  –  2   –  3   –  4   –  5  –  6

Open-ended questions

  1. What does your manager do to support your development?    
  2. What behaviours does your manager engage in that are ineffective?
  3. How else could your manager improve?      

Thank you for your valuable feedback. We’ll reach out if we have any clarifying questions about your responses.

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SHRM offers a 360-degree supervisor appraisal template (which helped to inform the layout above). This supervisor evaluation form can be used by direct reports. You can also have a broader range of people complete it. While it mainly includes rating questions, it shares several open-ended questions too.

Here is another sample supervisor evaluation form from Columbia Gorge Community College. We find it to be another straightforward and comprehensive resource.

Refer to the supervisor’s job description to customize your questions. Make sure your supervisor evaluation questions cover the key responsibilities stated on it. The supervisor’s boss may have valuable input on key topics.

By conducting supervisor evaluations, you’ll enhance managers’ skill sets. The constructive feedback you receive will benefit their long-term growth. And hearing positive feedback will give them a morale boost! Again, remember to act on the feedback by nurturing their growth.

By creating a plan tailored to their needs, you’ll ensure continuous improvement.

Want to learn how to use a performance review module in evaluations? Demo our product!

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