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Manager's Tool Box

The Manager's Tool Box was created to provide new and experienced Columbus State Community College supervisors with resources and information that will help lead to success. 

Best Practices in Supervision Section


Communication or, lack thereof, is at the heart of most misunderstandings.  An effective supervisor understands that communication is much more about listening deeply, than talking.  Providing employees with an opportunity to ask questions, share perspectives, and express concerns on a regular basis opens the door to effective communication.  Encourage open and professional communication among your staff members.  Although you may not agree with their suggestions or opinions, honor them by listening respectfully. 

Tips to improve active listening skills include:

  • Give the speaker your undivided attention. 
  • Look at the speaker.
  • Use non-verbal communication to show the speaker that you’re listening. 
  •  Listen for content rather than judging what is being said. 
  •  Freeze your behavior and avoid getting defensive.
  •  Ask questions and/or paraphrase to check for understanding.

For more information about the What’s My Communication Style assessment, contact HCD. 


How many of us start each day by looking forward to a good conflict?  The truth is not many of us do!  Whether we like it or not, we will encounter conflict on a daily basis.  It’s how we view conflict that will determine its outcome.

Tips to improve your ability to manage conflict include:

  • Move from a point of view to a viewing point. 
  • Keep an open mind. 
  • Approach conflict with curiosity.
  • Take a time out, if the conflict gets heated or too emotional.
  • Understand that conflict can be an opportunity rather than a crisis. 
  • Learn about the five primary conflict strategies and when to use them.  

Most conflict strategy assessments measure our preferred style of dealing with conflict along two dimensions – a person’s level of assertiveness and level of cooperativeness.  These two basic dimensions define five conflict management styles used to respond to conflict situations. 

  • Competing (high assertiveness/ low cooperativeness) is used when an individual pursues his/her own concerns at another person’s expense.
  • Accommodating (low assertiveness/high cooperativeness) is used when an individual neglects his/her own concerns to satisfy the concerns of others.
  • Avoiding (low assertiveness/low cooperativeness) is used when an individual does not deal with the conflict.
  • Collaborating (high assertiveness/high cooperativeness) is used when an individual attempts to work with others to find a solution that satisfies the concerns of both.
  • Compromising (moderate assertiveness/moderate cooperativeness) is used when an expedient solution is needed and partially satisfies the concerns of both parties. 

 Now that we know what the strategies are, how do we use them?  Contact HCD for additional information about the Conflict Strategies Inventory.

Decision Making

We all make decisions on a daily basis – some simple, some complex.  Complex decisions usually mean that more is at stake.  A thoughtful, well-designed decision making process will help ensure that all options are considered and the best possible decision is made.

Tips for Decision Making

  • State the objective in clear, concise terms.
  • Determine and agree upon the process to be used in making the decision. 
  • Involve the right people in the decision making process.
  • Encourage opinions to be shared.
  • Ask the right questions using decision making tools.
  • Understand the risks involved in each option that is under consideration. 

 For assistance with using decision making tools and techniques, contact HCD. 


Why should I delegate when I know that I can do it faster and better?  It’s easy to fall into this way of thinking when we are in a hurry to get things done.  However, part of a supervisor’s role is to develop staff, and one way to do so is through the delegation of responsibilities and tasks. 

Tips for Delegating

  • Define the task.
  • Identify individual(s) to complete the task and assess their skills and knowledge.
  • Clarify expectations and review measures of success.
  • Discuss resources needed
  • Agree on deadlines
  • Praise progress, not perfection.


 Performance Management

 Planning and Organizing

 Tapping into Strengths


 Time Management