Saturday, December 25, 2010

Who's In Charge Here?

Whether you are a sole proprietor running a small company of family and friends or the president of a company that employs thousands of people, there is something called “depth of management.” It is similar to the military “chain of command” and can be diagramed in an organization chart. Research has shown that a supervisor is required for every three to five people performing a unit task. If there are three to five supervisors, they need a supervisor and so forth. The larger a company gets, the structure is more about managing the flow of information than the activities of employees, but supervision is supervision whether it is peoplework or paperwork.

A common problem for all is how they answer the question, “Who is in charge here?” An owner’s offspring is put in charge, a worker is promoted to supervisor, and a principal hires a friend or outsider. Negative repercussions can result unless those people who are put in charge of other people understand what being a supervisor is about. It is not about being “the boss.” Boss is not a job title or a position. Supervisor is a job title and the position is about getting a job done.

A supervisor is a person who is responsible for the work being accomplished by one or more employees.

The supervisor must have the ability to handle the function to which they are assigned and the ability to control and direct those employees whom they supervise, or subordinates. The capacity of supervisory personnel is largely dependent upon their personality, background, education, and work experience. Good supervisor are open-minded and alert to new ideas, allowing them to be flexible in handling varying situations that must be faced daily.

Successful supervisors display three main qualities: stability, decisiveness and understanding.

Emotional stability is essential. Good supervisors must be able to control their tempers under all conditions, especially when the going gets tough. They must follow an orderly, well-planned procedure that is flexible enough to permit changes when necessary. Decisions must be handled positively and quickly because shaky and uncertain decisions will cost the respect of both subordinates and other supervisors. Subordinates who are made to feel that they are understood enjoy working under their supervisor's steady and dependable direction.

The qualifications for supervisors include impartiality, leadership, confidence and balance.

Supervisors must be impartial and impersonal, not allowing their personal likes and dislikes to influence their decisions. Good supervisors are leaders rather than drivers. Subordinates take pride in their work when they feel it is worthwhile. Supervisors must be able to train subordinates in their tasks and be able to instill a feeling of confidence in their abilities. A good supervisor also knows when to praise a subordinate for work well done as well as to correct a subordinate privately for unsatisfactory performance.

The responsibilities of supervisors share core attributes regardless of their company size.

· Accepting and understanding all duties delegated to them.
· Developing recommendations to modify tasks assigned to subordinates.
· Establishing coordination and discipline among subordinates.
· Evaluating the performance of subordinates.
· Training subordinates at all levels and developing selected individuals to become assistants and to assume the supervisor's duties when the need arises.
· Simplifying all activities to necessary essentials by eliminating marginal work and non-productive effort.
· Maintaining operating records of the quality and quantity of work performed.
· Planning, and rescheduling work to obtain improved workflow and increased production.
· Performing the operations within approved standards by attending to all assigned duties and acting on matters as they arise.
· Observing and practicing all policies.

The authority of a supervisor includes responsibility, jurisdiction, and morale.

Regardless of the delegation of duties to subordinates, supervisors remain personally responsible for the proper performance of all duties assigned to the position and to the organizational unit they supervise. Under no circumstances should the authority of any supervisor be destroyed by the direct issuance of instructions to personnel under that supervisor's jurisdiction by other supervisory personnel, regardless of the organizational rank of the latter.

The supervisor must have exclusive jurisdiction and authority over all personnel, equipment, and facilities for which they are responsible. Supervisors are entitled to the full cooperation of their own supervisor in the event that an employee is judged unsatisfactory and must be transferred or terminated.

All supervisory personnel are expected to develop and maintain a high standard of morale and production in addition to being fully familiar with all company policies. Each supervisor may make recommendations concerning subordinate employees. However, only a functional manager has the authority to hire, promote, demote, discipline, or terminate any employee within the functional section.

Supervisors share some core administrative and general duties regardless of company size.

· Achieving a well-organized, smooth running unit by making competent selections, providing sufficient training, and closely supervising assigned personnel.
· Securing effective, productive use of all personnel, equipment, and supplies in their unit.
· Building and maintaining employee morale.
· Operating their unit within established guidelines and budgets.
· Maintaining productivity and improving methods and procedures whenever possible.
· Providing proper maintenance, control, and proper use of all equipment, including a preventative maintenance program when applicable.
· Ensuring strict adherence to safety rules and practices at all times.
· Reducing potential hazards in the work place.
· Reducing wasteful use of resources.

Proper supervision is the prime activity for top management. Its agenda is to operate an organization productively and smoothly. Supervision is the way companies obtain the necessary coordination, cooperation, and communication required to succeed. Supervisors must always put emphasis on the details of doing a job, not just on accomplishing the end result. That is what being in charge means.

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