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Supervision is often defined as guiding the people’s activities who perform the work. It includes organizing, planning, directing, and controlling the activities and work of employees or subordinates. Hence, supervisors are management members who must perform the above mentioned functions. In addition, the supervisor is involved in interviewing prospective employees; training, evaluating and counseling of subordinates as well as performing other activities aim to help to accomplish general functions of management. Supervisors are also responsible for the accomplishment of the unit’s objectives through others (The Role of the Supervisor, 2009).
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A supervisor has to act as a planner, manager, mediator, leader and guide, inspector and counselor. However, the most important role is to provide information and support to facilitate the development of employees. It is very important and helpful for any employee to get a good assessment of their work and to access to others who are able to coach the employee or provide useful information. The successful supervisor will always respect the employees’ learning curve as time is needed to learn new skills and be able to apply them in practice (The Role of the Supervisor in Employee Development, 2008).
A supervisor is often viewed as a vital connection between the goals of a company and its potential. This person is generally in contact with all business factions including the upper management, the workforce and the customer base typically using management, social and accountability skills. Strong social skills are required due to the contact with many different types of people. Communication is one more important part of supervisory skills. Dealing with people often presupposes relaying information to them. The task of a supervisor is to help people with little or no education understand things and subjects that may appear to be very complex to them. At the same time, this person may also have to make upper management understand different staff issues. Writing skills are another important aspect for many supervisors as they are sometimes required to compose and submi a variety of reports. They are also required to write materials such as notices, memos, and articles for company newsletters that should be understood by the entire staff.
The skills of a supervisor are generally not complete without the ability to listen and exercise authority. In order to transmit information effectively, a supervisor must be open to receive it. Supervisors should be able to balance creating and working in a happy work environment and enforcing regulations and rules. The supervisor’s role is to be a person who solves problems and supports the subordinates, considers their ideas and suggestions. He provides support, guidance, training, encouragement, and advocacy for the employee rights. Be it a supervisor of a team within a financial audit campaign or a building project, his task is to perform a set of duties and common functions.
Supervisors have different responsibility levels. Understanding the daily challenges helps supervisors be an effective worker and foster respect for the supervisor efforts in the company. It is expected that supervisors should maintain discipline within their staff due to several reasons. Enforcing discipline makes employees focused on the activities of a productive job and maintains a field of a level playing for all employees. It also prevents employees from performing prohibited activities. As a rule, a supervisor is the level between the employees and the departmental manager. He has to have daily contact with the employees and is responsible for helping develop employee skills. The supervisor not only develops and improves daily skills of work duty, but also determines which employees are potential supervisors and may lay an active part in developing employees’ skill set. He also is responsible for ensuring the operation of a work group and providing maximum efficiency. The supervisor should present production goals for the team or group, and then has to determine the ways in which the team will meet them (Anderson, 2013). Supervisors are sometimes referred to as peace makers as they have to address the conflicts which arise in a work group.
A supervisor should have adequate knowledge as well as an approved diploma level education (Supervisor Certificates and Nominated Supervisors, 2012). A supervisor certificate may be imposed by the National Law. A minimum of experience, qualifications and management is set out by the National Regulations. They are needed to gain a supervisor certificate. However, the education requirement for supervisors varies by school. Most supervision positions require a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and many prefer a Master’s degree (Meier, 2013).
There exists a variety of methods which are available to help in the selection process including practical and psychometric tests, interviews, assessment centers, team exercises, role plays and others. The most essential ones are practical tests (they are acceptable for word processing and manual skills) and interviews (they help to find a suitable candidate for the job and provide the candidate with the information about the organization and the job itself.
Supervisor toolkit includes such tools as interviews, self-assessment skill summaries and a variety of teaching tools. The eye-rolling is considered to be the main tool that is used by supervisors to evaluate employees. It is a tool collection where each one comes together and drives the whole valuation. Different tools make it possible to a supervisor to paint an accurate and distinct picture of the employees’ performance irrespective their opinion and bias.
The power of supervisory stems from personal influence and organizational authority. Supervisory responsibilities should be matched with corresponding power including the right to hire or discipline personnel. In organizations with more than one management level, supervisors may find themselves in the powerful position of acting as information filtering agents, interpreters, and individuals passing on the essentials (Billikopf, 2006). Thus, efficient and effective supervision helps in building good human relations, serving better work performance, creating a co-operative and congenial environment leading to productivity increase.