Best Practices Supervision

  • Thinking ahead is smart
  • Having a Plan is wise
  • Following through to Act on your plan dramatically increases chance of success

These three words enable us to build and implement successful supervision practices,

  • To work most effectively with your Crew or Team, who deliver the goods for you
  • To get things done properly, consistently and efficiently
  • To simplify your job and enable you to more successfully target issues vs routine items.

The more we understand a situation, the better we manage it. Too often, however, we are inclined not to think ahead on key aspects, such as,


The Project

  • Common issues we expect to address, and, special, or unique issues that may arise
  • Back up plans to consider if things don’t go perfectly (it happens)

The Crew

  • What blend of experience, vs, newcomers will I have?
  • Who have I worked with previously? What strengths and weaknesses do they bring?
  • How much close supervision vs delegation is required? Where is my time best spent?


There are aspects you can plan for.

  • Preliminary preparation, communication and plans to have in place before you start
  • Day 1-start up issues, how to brief your Crew on what you need and expect
  • Communication patterns within your Crew, and with other Departments
  • Week 1-establishing communication, coordination within your Crew


  • Consistent follow through on your plans builds trust & confidence with your Crew and other Departments, as they can count on you.
  • It also makes things easier for you to not “reinvent the wheel” each day


Strategies for Success


Consider the situation in advance.

We can’t consider every possibility, but thinking ahead beats making it up on the spot. It also gives you time to consider more options, their pros & cons.


Leading & supervising a team of people is challenging, but some do it very well. Think of,

  • The best leaders you have had-What did they do that helped you do a good job?

(Also the less talented leaders you have experienced, just so you know what not to do)

  • What common issues you will be addressing?

(Communicating-Assigning tasks-Coordinating-Following up-Changes-Problem Solving)

  • How will you communicate your priorities-safety, competence, professionalism, results?
  • Within your team, who can act independently, who needs training or support?
  • How will they keep you informed? When they need access to you?
  • How will you stress your teams’ collaboration with other Departments?

Successful Leadership Strategies


1-Show the way-your team is looking to you for leadership, direction and answers

Thinking ahead on the above noted questions puts you in a stronger position to,

a-anticipate issues, develop plans and prevent those problems you can expect

b-collaborate with more experienced Crew who can help you

c-build Team confidence and commitment


2-Consider the issues

How will you prevent problems in increasing challenges in employment, such as,

  • Safety-will you, or one of your Crew take the lead here?
  • Harassment & Bullying-consider action to prevent these complex & troublesome issues
  • Employee/Labour Relations-it can go well, but you don’t want to leave it to chance
  • Performance-list indicators of good performance, ensure each person knows theirs, especially the newcomers.

3-Write out your plan

Those with a written plan are twice as likely to succeed.

(You don’t need to sit on a mountain top for a week, but invest some time in your own success.)



A plan gives you and your Team confidence to coordinate and get things done more promptly and smoothly with fewer hitches. It’s a critical aspect of a film project.


Key Planning Steps

Now that you have thought ahead, you can to address major components.


1-Your Team

To best utilize the Team you have, you can to allocate roles and tasks based on capabilities

a-You should be able to count on more experienced Crew to know the job and live up to their

obligations with less supervision

b-Crew still developing experience? Discuss areas of expertise & where support is needed

c-Newcomers-same as above, but they also need confidence. Build engagement with them.


How to find out? Talk to them, taking a collaborative approach to build trust*, so you want to have an honest discussion,

  • to learn what they already know, and areas where more direction would help
  • to learn what support they expect from you (but make them accountable)
  • to plan how and when you want to hear from them (you’ll be busy, so pick your times)

*trust may take time, as it may not been that strong in previous jobs


2-Logistics & Resources

  • List logistics & operational aspects to address by noting expected challenges, past issues
  • Also, list the resources you can call on to get things done, as well as back up plans
  • Doing “what if” scenarios positions you well to deal with catastrophes. (Stuff happens!)

3-The Big Picture

Plan your contribution to the success of the overall project.

List those things other Departments expect from you as well as, to keep communicating, collaborating & adapting to changes. The more you can count on each other, the better your life is.



Following through is critical.

If everyone knowns pretty well what their job is, yours becomes simpler, coordinating and monitoring so that things happen as planned. (Good News!) To do this well, you can,


1-Watch closely over traditionally tentative items or potential “hot spots” such as,

  • issues presented by multiple locations
  • tasks of less experienced Crew Members
  • the early days of the project when things are just getting going,
  • any other common issues you are aware of

2-Have “indicators” of things working well or not, so you can

  • have confidence that things are on track
  • be alerted to issues early, and be able to react to fix them
  • note trends, e.g. recurring issues indicating larger problems (equipment or staff issues)


  • Ensure you are getting input as needed from Crew Members & other Departments to ensure all is on track (This keeps you informed, lowers your stress & allows for faster solutions as needed)
  • Ask, “How are we doing?”-Debrief, from time to time to encourage input from all

4-Don’t delay dealing with issues

  • Act on recurring issues. You don’t have much time.

(For example, if you note problem interactions within your Team, step in. These things don’t solve themselves, and can go south quickly.)

  • Direct, guide and coach increasingly better performance, and intervene, as needed
  • Clearly communicate and reinforce desired behaviours for smoother operations


By effectively contributing to a successful project you build a strong reputation.