Free The Supervisor might be my new chant as I continue to research and discuss and consider the reality of most workplaces. In a simple phrase, “They Get Pressed.”
Remember – The ONLY people who actually produce any income for an organization are the workers. All of the management function as overhead costs. And who actually manages the workers?
Here is a defined, analyzed, job and task description of the job of Supervisor, from the ReferenceForBusiness.com website (abridged because it was WAY too long and detailed):
The Role of The Supervisor:
Supervisors play an important role in the business environment. Their primary job is to see that the work performed by employees is completed on time and at the highest level of quality. In order to complete this task, they must know the production process and have an understanding of human behavior. Theirs is a pressure-filled job.
It is their job to write reports, letters, memos, performance appraisals, and the gamut of documents that businesses need to operate. They must be equally comfortable in communicating with chief executive officers and assemblyline production workers. They must be able to run effective meetings. They must carefully monitor the organization’s goals, strategies, tactics, and production schedules. They must be cognizant of union rules where applicable. They must be trainers, confidants, computer experts, goal setters—in short, supervisors must be well-rounded employees who are willing to accept the responsibilities required to keep a company running.
Job duties include
Supervisor as Communicator.
Supervisor as Trainer.
Supervisor as Student.
Supervisor as Goal Setter.
Supervisor as Evaluator.
Supervisor as Human Resources Specialist.
Supervisor as Computer Expert.
Supervisor as Producer.
Supervisor as Adviser.
Supervisor as Idea Champion.
Supervisor as Environmental Watchdog.
Supervisor as International Manager.
But, as I shared in other articles and blogs, and despite corporations spending billions of dollars in survey fees and executive and management time focused on improving active involvement and motivating the workers to improve productivity and performance, the Supervisors still do not apparently get it, since results do not improve. Let’s blame them for the performance problems, right?
No! Let’s look at task interference, our measurement and expectation systems, what we give feedback about from the management team (if asked about engagement once every few months, you can expect a focus on engagement every few months…).
I keep hearing about EMPOWERMENT as a driver of engagement, yet a simple observation will show that most people in most organizations are un-empowered. So, who will do the DIS-un-empowerment and focus on the removal of perceived and actual roadblocks other than The Supervisor? (Certainly not HR!)
- Why not try to make the Supervisors a bit less constrained and a lot more able to do what they want to do in regards to actively involving their people, building teams, solving workplace improvement issues and things like that?
- Why not look to FREE them up from some of those duties listed above. Let’s do away with performance appraisals (by any name) and let’s reduce the clerical burden.
- Let’s free them up from all the administrative minuscule and even give them some training. Let’s give them more skills and more confidence to use those skills through support from their managers.
- Let’s make them more like Facilitators than Bosses (since BOSS spelled-backwards is self-explanatory).
There is no one simple way to do this; there are lots of ways to do this but we have to make the choice to make things happen. Look, the very brave supervisors already do this now, and you know who they are. They are the ones with the exemplary results. I mean, how else can you explain those results?
Taking a quote from Conant, “Behold the Supervisor who, like the turtle, only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.
Let’s get the supervisors and their people to break the things that are already broken and get more motivated because they can fix things and make improvements,
For the FUN of It!
Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.
You can reach Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Also published on Medium.