Improving Supervision: A Team Approach

Supervision is so important to getting things done that most family planning organizations have developed a formal supervisory structure staffed with “supervisors” to help them ensure that activities are supervised. These “supervisors” work alongside managers who also perform their own supervisory activities on a day-to-day basis. Yet in spite of the special effort to provide supervision, managers are often frustrated by how difficult it is to create a supervisory system that improves program performance.

Necessary resources and training for supervisors are often lacking, supervisory visits rarely occur on schedule, and supervisees often don’t understand the benefits of supervision. To make matters worse, program planners rarely consider these limitations when designing supervisory activities. Stripped of resources and without a team approach or on-the-job education from the supervisor, supervision often becomes a monitoring and control exercise symbolized by the standardized supervisory checklist.

This issue of The Family Planning Manager explores ways to improve supervision in family planning clinics. It focuses on developing an interactive team supervision strategy that can improve the supervision of activities and individual performance. The issue explains how clinic staff can work together as a team to provide ongoing supervision and improve the quality of family planning services. A supplement to this issue, the Pocket Guide for Service Improvement, is designed to be used by clinic staff to identify opportunities for improving family planning services.