Supervision is a widely misunderstood term. Many people believe it applies only to people who oversee the productivity and development of entry-level workers. That’s not true.
The term “supervisor” typically refers to one’s immediate superior in the workplace, that is, the person whom you report directly to in the organization. For example, a middle manager’s supervisor typically would be a top manager. A first-line manager’s supervisor would be a middle manager. A worker’s supervisor typically would be a first-line manager.
Supervisors typically are responsible for their direct reports’ progress and productivity in the organization. Supervision often includes conducting basic management skills (decision making, problem solving, planning, delegation and meeting management), organizing teams, noticing the need for and designing new job roles in the group, hiring new employees, training new employees, employee performance management (setting goals, observing and giving feedback, addressing performance issues, firing employees, etc.) and ensuring conformance to personnel policies and other internal regulations.
Supervisors typically have strong working knowledge of the activities in their group, e.g., how to develop their product, carry out their service, etc. Many also use the term “supervisor” to designate the managerial position that is responsible for a major function in the organization, for example, Supervisor of Customer Service. For more information, see All About Supervision.
Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD – Authenticity Consulting, LLC – 800-971-2250
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