Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

You can look forward to many new duties as a new supervisor. So what can you expect? First off, supervisor duties WILL include employee interaction, and you will have the most direct contact with the employees. Interaction helps to assure that the work is meeting organizational goals. Part of this will be making sure that people receive the training they need to do their jobs capably. Otherwise you’re fighting a losing battle.

The smart supervisor delegates some of thier work, and training could be part of this. In many different environments, the supervisor may not have the technical know how of line staff, and the training assignment may very well be delegated to other staff or technical groups, like engineers, instead. For supervisors that have risen from the ranks, they might choose to do as much of the training as possible. Training should include basic things such as work ethics and work responsibility . . . don’t just rely on the dreeded Orientation Week (or two) training. Ideally, training should never stop, and though less intensive, providing a continuing work/learning environment will be most valuable.

Supervising also includes MOTIVATION. Yes you! Some supervisor duties could include offering incentives or assigning special projects. Motivation should be reflected in the way staff get treated by their supervisors. They look up to you. Typically motivation is highest when staff feel valued and appreciated and when they see that you work as hard as they do - this is key – money doesn’t always talk. Walk the Talk.

One of the supervisor duties that you also may have is scheduling. Many supervisors will have the responsibility of determining when and how much each staff will work each week. This could be flexible, or it might stay relatively fixed.

In working with management, duties can be much more extensive. You could also be responsible for disciplining employees that break the rules, implementing new rules, or in stricter organizations (yuk) occasionally acting as a liaison if an employee wants to approach management (don’t work there). Some supervisors will also handle HR functions to hire and fire employees, or handle payroll.

Those that are interested in a career in supervision will find MANY possible paths. A lot of people get hired from line staff positions. Others are hired directly into supervisory roles. Having strong people skills, being precise in your work, and demonstrating responsibility are all valuable attributes to have.

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