Supervisors Must Learn to Supervise


It often happens that when an outstanding worker is promoted to become a supervisor, the company loses a good worker and gains a poor supervisor. The main reason for this failure is that supervising demands an additional set of skills that still needs to be developed in the newbie supervisor. In some cases, the person may be technically proficient but lacks the knowledge on how to handle people.
Supervisors are in a very awkward situation. They are considered part of management but are usually expected to do a lot of work alongside the people they are supervising. Making matters more complicated are their emotional ties to the rank-and-file, from where most of them were promoted.
There are many things to consider in managing a supervisor, especially if the person is just new in the position:
• Have a crash course training potential supervisors. Even before promoting a person to the position, there must be an intensive training. Preferably, veteran supervisors should mentor them in management and leadership skills.
• Ask the candidate supervisor if he is willing to accept the position. Not everyone would welcome a promotion, especially if the person believes that it would be more trouble than it is worth, or if he/she lacks leadership qualities.
• Get feedback from co-workers. Although they may be biased towards having a supervisor that will make their life easier, it is possible to get plenty of useful information that will help in the selection or in the improvement in the performance of a supervisor.
• Provide sufficient compensation. If the additional pay is not significant, it may discourage the supervisor because not only is the position more difficult, the legal protection afforded to rank-and-file workers will no longer apply.
• Make the position a temporary “acting capacity”. Despite having assessed, trained and gotten the approval of the supervisor candidate, it is still possible for the promotion to not work out. This may lead to the resignation of the supervisor or to the deterioration of productivity. Assigning the position initially in an acting capacity will provide a graceful exit back to the supervisor’s old position. This may also be done to avoid charges of illegal demotion in case the company decides to bring back the employee to his previous post.
• Consider communication skills. Besides leadership potential, the ability to communicate is a critical element that must be present or developed. Many problems will arise from a deficiency in this aspect as the supervisor must be able to explain clearly the work to be done.
• If possible, do not let supervisors manage previous co-workers. The tasks of a supervisor are difficult enough without having to deal with the pressure from old colleagues. Monitor closely who will be the subordinates and consider this as a big negative in selecting which work unit to place the supervisor in.
Supervisors have an extremely vital function to every organization. Giving them the proper training is one of the best investments a company can make.
Learn how to be a supervisor at BusinessCoach, Inc.
Click here to view details of the training program on: Basic Supervisory Skills Training »
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. 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.
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