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Role of Supervisor

Over the years, the role of the supervisor has changed. At one time, supervisors were feared order-givers who told employees what to do and policed their work. Successful supervisors today are more likely to be good leaders, coaches, and motivators. Good supervisors are respected by their team members, because most employers have come to understand that people are more productive if they are happy, motivated, and upbeat.

Most supervisors get promoted because they are good on the job. They are hard-working, productive, loyal to the company, and a good team player. While this is a good start, many other skills are needed to be effective at supervising others. This checklist can be used to ensure that (a) your supervisors have the skills and training they need to do their jobs well and (b) you have delegated appropriate authority and responsibility to your supervisors.

The role of a supervisor can be summarized as follows:

Leadership: The supervisor understands the company’s goals and objectives, and guides the planning of day-to-day work of the employees to ensure they contribute to meeting those goals and objectives. The supervisor sets an example with enthusiasm and a positive outlook, and provides feedback and encouragement to the team to increase their desire to do even better.

Goal Setting and Performance Management: The supervisor has a well-defined plan and performance goals that tie into the company’s overall plans. The supervisor understands the priorities, closely tracks progress, and keeps the team members informed. The supervisor is in daily contact with the team members to ensure they are performing their duties correctly and efficiently, provides feedback, and corrects procedures, processes or behaviors immediately when it is required.

Motivating: An effective supervisor knows the team members well and knows what is important to them. The supervisor provides feedback, demonstrates confidence in their abilities, and clearly communicates goals and expectations. When training is needed to develop skills necessary for good performance, the supervisor facilitates arrangements for that training.

Coaching and Mentoring: The supervisor works one-on-one with employees to help them identify areas in which they need to improve or develop, and provides or arranges for individual guidance when needed.

Communications and Relationship Building: The supervisor is the link among employees on the team, and between the employee and the owners of the company. Strong relationships and clear communication help workers understand what is expected of them, and what the expectations are when performance issues arise. By dealing honestly and respectfully with all employees the supervisor creates an environment of trust and respect that is very important to good employee performance.

Team Building: For the company to get maximum benefit from the work performed, it is important that all employees work together well, with minimum disruptions because of job or personal conflicts. The supervisor plays a key role in developing and promoting team spirit and positive interpersonal relationships amongst the team members. As the team leader, the supervisor discourages behaviors that have a negative impact on the team.

Managing Stress: Because of the close working relationships, the supervisor is uniquely positioned to spot when team members are under stress. The supervisor can help them deal with the situation before it gets out of hand, and can facilitate their referral to third-party help when needed.

Staffing: Supervisors regularly review the tasks and needs of their employees. As such, they are often the first to notice the need for training of a current employee, the potential for advancement of current employees, or the need for a new position in the organization.

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