What Do Supervisors Want?


  • The job well done, safely, on time, within budget…no surprises here!

There’s more to it, of course, but basically, they want the job done right! (Through genuine Crew effort)

Their Challenge is to…

  • Clearly communicate what it is they need, and support the Crew or Team in achieving it.

What’s the problem?

  • It’s a complex situation, as the two parties have normal, people issues we must consider.


Leaders, Supervisors, Managers Crew Members, Teams, Employees
They… We…
Ø  Have a complex job balancing people, costs, time, goals, operations issues, safety, legal issues & more…

Ø  May, or may not have, training for the job, or experience in it

Ø  May not know the all capabilities of their Crew, unless they have worked together before.

Ø  Have little time to plan & coach each of us

on their needs and interests

Ø  Need to balance support with direction

Ø  Need to use varied styles to communicate (but we all have a preferred style)

Ø  Want to be called back for more work and have a career

(Note-They also have all those issues we have, as well.)


Ø  Are complex (all of us are!)

Ø  Arrive with varied levels of knowledge, skills & motivations (motivations can shift!)

Ø  May have differing experiences with previous Leaders, positive or negative (memories last)

Ø  We normally have a good opinion of our capabilities, so may not take too well to direction or feedback

Ø  Expect leadership and honest feedback

Ø  Expect respect, fair treatment and to be seen as an individual

Ø  Want to succeed

Ø  Want to be called back for more work and have a career


Some People Get it Right!

There are great Leaders and Crew out there, working successfully together!

(Hopefully some of us have experienced this already.)

We have many factors at play here, to build successful partnerships, including…,

  • Trust-of both parties in each other
  • Clarity-of the tasks, outcomes, but also of support required
  • Communication-in both directions and in many ways, to keep it going.
  • Commitment-to achieve success in those top three factors

Here are key behaviours Leaders, Supervisors and Managers expect

A Good Honest Effort!

  • Show up daily and contribute your best effort, whether you’re a newcomer or experienced pro. You build their confidence and trust that you can be counted on to contribute.
  • You will succeed more times than not, others are more filling to help you, and you feel stronger

Work well with others!

  • You know yourself, how important this is, (and may have witnessed some good news/bad news scenes in the past. You don’t need to be everyone’s pal, or put up with nonsense. You win, however, when you get a positive reputation as someone to count on.
  • Also, too often we hear someone blaming, “Those guys over there!” Managers are seeking those who others see as helpful, not negative gripers.

Be Conscientious

  • That is, commit to not only doing a good job, but a full effort for a thorough job, as well. Get things done right, but be prepared to check and make sure, to fix you mistakes and own them.
  • Accountability rates high with Leaders, Managers and Supervisors.



Be willing to listen and learn!

  • Leaders highly value Crew who seek input and are open to advice. Our short, time-pressured film projects don’t allow formal feedback sessions. By welcoming teaching & advice, you win!
  • Even experienced, knowledgeable Crew Members can polish their skills through coaching. Leaders respect that, and are more inclined to see you as a contributing partner.
  • Take responsibility for your own learning. Yes, you need teaching, input and coaching, but it’s your career, so ensure you take every opportunity to learn.


Collaboration is a more active word than teamwork. Both can distinguish you, and build confidence with leaders, supervisors and managers. We are all are expected to support the team with cooperation, problem solving, and, often, patience, when others make mistakes.

Unwelcome issues here include,

Lack of active collaborations and support, either,

  • Within the Team, Crew or Department,
  • Between Teams, Crews or Departments (blaming “Those guys…!”, is a rut many fall in to). We build credibility by overcoming such traditional issues
  • Playing “Ain’t it awful!” (Jumping on the “complaint bandwagon” when things go wrong.)

Contribute by Taking Initiative

Pay attention to potential problems or looming issues and act promptly to prevent them or inform someone who can. Ask what potential issues your Leaders may want you to keep an eye on.

(What common issues have you seen in the past, that prompt action could have prevented?)

Keep Your Leader Informed

They are only one person, and can’t be everywhere, so Leaders depend on us for,

  • A “heads up” if something is going awry (as noted above), but also,
  • Confirmation that “Things are on track!” in other areas.




  • “What am I doing that you want me to continue doing, exactly the same way?”
  • “Is there anything you want me to do differently? More of? Less of?
  • “Is there anything you want me to start doing? Stop doing?

Note-Don’t ask these repeatedly, and pick your times, such as the end of the week. Also, check when it’s OK to do so, and keep it brief.

Be Resilient

Successful people bounce back. Be able to overcome barriers, obstacles and setbacks. Stuff happens! (Especially in the movies!) Some days it seems like a conspiracy, but we can’t really run away.

When things look the bleakest, remember, “Someday this will be a memory!”

Leaders count on us to cope with adversity. Consider “What if, scenarios” to prepare for problems. Having a Plan B, and Plan C, can also give you back up options for crisis moments.

Read Rudyard Kipling’s’ poem “If” (“If all about you are losing their heads…”), but remember it was written in bygone days.

Your Impact on Your Success

These recommendations come from many Leaders, Supervisors and Managers to support you in your success. They can help, but, you need to take charge.

”I am the Master of my fate and the Captain of my destiny.”

Nelson Mandela