In modern society, it is believed that Supervisors have existed as long as humans have been around. While it is true that there have always been leaders and those that others follow, the role of a Supervisor has only been defined in the past few centuries as government policy became more prominent and complicated. In recent decades, supervisors have become more important in bridging the gap between workers and those that are in charge, but not in the immediate vicinity of employees. However, as times change, so does the meaning of the word “supervisor”.
The Evolution of the Supervisor Role
Supervisors were originally considered the “bosses,” and were on-site employees that ensured no one was breaking any laws or company policies. Supervisors used to be trusted to plan, direct, and control the work done by subordinates, but expectations generally stopped there. Over time, this position has shifted due to delayering and reorganization of team structure and the rise of “employee empowerment” that gives team members more authority over how work gets done.
There are many self-directed teams that do not function well under the leadership of a traditional supervisor; however, this does not mean that supervisors are not still an important part of the workplace, and they still need proper training to lead teams to success.
This specialized role has long been defined as:
- A person that gives instructions and/or orders to subordinates and
- Is held responsible for the work and actions of other employees, including their obedience to policy.
A supervisor’s defined job may end there, but often, a supervisor is responsible for many additional tasks, including:
- Increasing employee motivation.
- Communicating expectations of the company.
- Increasing organizational performance.
- Hiring the correct employees.
- Training employees to be technically proficient.
- Delegating specific tasks to team members.
- Contributing to conversation to further productivity.
- Guiding, but not ordering or directing, employees.
Because modern-day supervisors are stacked with multiple responsibilities, ensuring they are properly trained is of the utmost importance.
Training a Modern-Day Supervisor
Good management doesn’t just happen. A supervisor must be properly trained depending on his or her responsibilities and the company’s expectations. If any training is required by law, such as alcohol and drug testing training for DOT sites, ensuring a supervisor is properly trained in a timely manner is essential in compliance.
A well-trained and educated supervisor can help teams work together, boost morale, and promote effective practices as well as increase the productivity of their team. They can also provide important information, spot and correct issues quickly, and act as a safe and trusted advisor of a team.
Training a supervisor properly and thoroughly will be returned to your business ten-fold and enhance your company image tremendously, especially as the role of a supervisor continues to shift and morph into less of a boss and more of a team leader and guide.