Over a career spanning 15 years I have seen some abysmal youth work management. For the most part it is a pure lack of training and support rather than some misguided sense of grandiosity which leads to this management. When times get tough a manager in this situation turns to their base behavioural types rather than working to understand their staff behavioural types. This crisis mentality leads to a crisis driven service which then creates a cycle of pain and heartache for employees. In a crisis driven situation when your are struggling to keep your head above water you are probably doing more harm than good if you are providing internal supervision.
Unfortunately, due to funding constraints and government key performance indicators crisis has become the norm. Most internal supervisors arent trained to provide supervision and rarely have time to provide good supervision. (If you are an internal supervisor here are a few ideas that might help address this). If you are feeling the pinch as most managers are, then one area that can help you and your staff is getting good supervision. Supervision that looks out for more than just the tasks you have to complete to meet your KPI’s. Having an external supervisor supporting you and your staff is a great way to show neutrality and transparency.
External supervisors should have a solid record as a practitioner before they become supervisors and be known and respected in the youth services field. They should meet all eight criteria for external supervisors. Most of all they should understand your organisation. External supervisors cost a bit of money but the benefits they provide far outweigh the regular payments. They bring latest knowledge, morale and support to your staff and help your organisation retain their employees. External supervision is essential to staff retention and development.