Supervisory Management Unit 1

A manager or supervisor is someone who has the responsibility of overseeing the day to day activities in an organization. A manager/ supervisor can have one person to a thousand people working under him.

Managers have different leadership styles from the Autocratic – who makes unilateral decisions and does not seek input from subordinates to the Paternalistic – who makes decisions but has the best interest of the employees at heart to the Democratic - who involves everyone in decision making to the Laissez faire – who just takes a back seat and let employees or subordinates make their own decisions.

The concept of supervisory management evolved as more and more companies reached new development levels, requiring specialized personnel to oversee and manage employees from different fields of activity. Today, there are a lot of people who work as supervisors in a company, taking advantage of their own abilities in order to effectively manage the employees under their care. The supervisor is the one that puts the whole team dynamics into motion, making sure that the workplace functions smoothly and that no problems arise.

In many ways, the supervisor can be compared to a manager. Some people consider the activity of supervisory management to be just as important as the overall management of a company. The supervisor occupies a position of high importance within a company, as the general manager puts a lot of trust in that person for the success of the business. Supervisory management means having both the power and the authority to handle the dynamics of the workplace; the supervisor coordinates the activity of the employees of a company, without actually intervening in their daily work.

The idea behind supervisory management is that employees receive instructions on how to perform their work. Once they receive these instructions or orders from the supervisor, the wheels are in motion. The whole office/department dynamics depend on the professionalism and dedication of the supervisor; if he knows how to spread his/her authority, then it is guaranteed that the workplace will function smoothly. The authority matter is serious, because the supervisor can be held accountable for everything that the employee does wrong. This is not strictly related to the work activity but also to the actions of the employee in general; once again, there are specific supervisory management techniques that a professional supervisor will use in his line of work.

We have talked about power and authority. These are two of the most important attributes when it comes to supervisory management. However, there is one more thing to be taken into account. That is responsibility. When the supervisor has a team of employees to oversee, that person is responsible for everything related to that work force. He/she needs to make sure that the team produces or delivers the expected services, within the timeframe requested and also matching the highest standards of quality. While every employee is responsible on his own for the things mentioned above, it is the main job of the supervisor to oversee all of them. That comes with a huge level of responsibility, especially one takes into account the costs involved with damage control and safety strategy implementation.

While the supervisory management involves being held accountable for the productivity and actions of the employees, it should not be confused with general management. The supervisor is often compared to the manager but these are actually two different job positions. In order to clarify such matters, it should be mentioned that the supervisor does not hold the authority to hire new employees, nor to terminate the contract of existing ones. Moreover, supervisory management is not related to budget control, as this is usually handled by the general manager.

Returning to the hiring of new employees, it is important to mention that the human resources department is actually the one that handles such matters. This does not mean that the supervisor cannot take part in the hiring process. He/she has complete liberty to participate in the process but, as part of the supervisory management department, cannot make any final decisions. Another important aspect is related to the termination of a contract. If a supervisor has reason to recommend that a certain employee be fired, he/she has the liberty to do that. The recommendation, however, may or may not be taken into account by the general manager.

Apart from handling team dynamics, supervisory management may sometimes be connected with other aspects. For example, the supervisor might decide to use part of the budget in order to make certain acquisitions. The spending limit will be decided by the financial department and approved by the general manager. Apart from that, the supervisor will be instructed to decide on the work time frame for each employee and also handle any issues related to the payment of the said employees. The diversity of work is what makes the field of supervisory management so exciting.

Supervisory management should not be viewed as a one way street. Given the fact that the supervisor comes in contact on a daily basis with the employees, we should also take into account the reverse team dynamics. This means that the supervisor will also have to handle employees coming to him/her; the employee will want to have his needs and problems taken care of. Supervisory management does not include only giving instructions to employees and making sure that they follow them; it also means ensuring the satisfaction of the employee at the workplace.

For many companies, the supervisory management department acts as the connection between the general management and the actual employees. The supervisor handles many manager-like tasks and that leaves the general manager with plenty of time to handle more important matters. As for the supervisor, he will handle new tasks on a regular basis, depending on the company. Some companies require the supervisory management department to handle the training of the employees or the implementation of the safety working strategies. Others impose their supervisors to handle everything that is related to the workforce, no matter the previous experience.

Someone once said that a good supervisor is the kind of person who can recognize a problem straight ahead and already figure out a solution when it happens. Analyzing the field of supervisory management, it is safe to say that visualizing the problem and finding the solution is not enough. The supervisor has to visualize the opportunities presented in the work field as well, not to mention carry out the policies of the company and organize the work force. As companies step into the new generation, the field of supervisory management evolves, showing a new dynamics of the work team.


Introduction to Supervisory Management