Is Your New Supervisor Not Living Up To The Job?
Selecting an applicant for a regular position is important enough, but the significance of this pales in comparison to finding a suitable person that will lead other employees. A blunder by a person in charge of managing other people may also affect people under him.
In fairness to supervisors, they are not always to blame. It could just be that the manager’s management style is incompatible with their personality or inclinations. What may be the perfect supervisor to one person may be a nightmare in some situations. Sometimes, they just need additional training.
Despite our best efforts to find the ideal supervisor, it is possible that we still make the wrong choice. To remedy the situation, before there is too much damage, it is imperative that we see the signs of dysfunction quickly. Early on, be wary of these warning signs:
Doing too much and managing too little. Very often, we promote a hardworking and technically skilled employee with only a passing consideration of his managerial capabilities. However, the supervisor’s primary job is to oversee the work of his subordinates and not dwell on his personal productivity. We have a case wherein we promoted someone who could not make his people obey him, so he just did all the work. Sometimes this problem can be remedied by management training and more experience. Yet, these remedial actions can fail if his personality or capability is not up to the position.
Not doing any work. On the extreme are those that feel they are entitled to work less now that they are promoted. The truth is that it is only the type of work that will change, but they will be expected to work even harder since they have more responsibilities. Furthermore, supervisors are expected to be hands-on and technically proficient so that they could mentor their subordinates. Also, if they are in a fast changing field like high-technology, they are expected to be at least as knowledgeable as their men.
Subordinates are demoralized. If output is going down or people are resigning more frequently, it may due to mismanagement. It may be time to take a closer look at how the supervisor is handling his personnel. Note that this is a delicate matter since you do not want to appear as bypassing your supervisor. It is a fine line that separates what is proper; you must study what would be appropriate.
Supervisor looks stressed out. Observe how your supervisor is coping with the new pressure. If the supervisor usually looks exhausted almost every day, it is quite possible that he is having difficulties. If this situation persists for more than what is usual during transition periods, then you must probe deeper for the root cause. Again, it may be that the tasks are too much for him to handle or additional training is needed.
His prime loyalty is to his subordinates. This is one of the most common failings of a new supervisor. Many find it difficult to set aside their attachment to former colleagues. As a result, discipline breaks down for he could not enforce the rules or implement your directives. He must realize that he is now part of management and that he must change his outlook.
He always refers decisions back to you. If your supervisor throws back every small issue for your decision, then he is basically useless. There are two primary reasons for this behaviour and both of them are unacceptable. The first is the fear of making mistakes, and the second is lack of competence. But there are people who prefer supervisors like these. Especially if the job entails matters of critical importance. A supervisor like this would thrive under a micro-managing superior.
He consistently overreaches his authority. The opposite of the above is the supervisor who acts beyond the scope of his powers. This is dangerous, even if assuming there was no malice involved. Legal problems may arise as this may set a precedent, and wrong decisions may be made for there is information that he is not privy to.
The work of supervisors is very crucial, and their failure to perform will paralyze operations. New supervisors must be monitored carefully so that issues that crop up can be addressed promptly for it is at this stage where they are the most vulnerable. Do not wait until the problems have become severe—the earlier you intervene, the better your chances for success
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-4, Sunday, March 17, 2013. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.