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The Importance of Having a Good Supervisor

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The Importance of Having a Good Supervisor

The Importance of Having a Good Supervisor

A post from our Managing Teams blog

      Written by Ashley Andrews
A supervisor plays an important role in any company's structure, because they're the link between the company executives and individual teams.

Without a skilled and efficient supervisor, there will be disconnect between the teams and upper management, and that will hamper overall productivity.

A competent supervisor is well-trained and experienced, in order to ensure the team performs smoothly and all goals are met. They are responsible for the team, and handle day-to-day challenges and goals.

Many teams, particularly departments like sales, simply can't function without a good supervisor at the helm.

Here, we've listed some of the primary reasons for having supervisors:

People discussing in the meeting room.
1. Organising the team

Organising the team involves being part of the recruitment process, determining the right fit for your team, and how many team members you need to complete your goals.

Supervisors will have a say when it comes to recruitment, and will make sure they have people with the right combination of skills in order to get the job done.

They'll also assign different tasks and responsibilities to different team members to ensure all the work is done well and on schedule.

Supervisors will provide valuable input during the recruitment process, and will make sure no disruptive forces are introduced into an established team.

The right team with skilled members is easier to manage and much more productive.

2. Maintaining control and discipline

A single team will have individuals with different skills and personalities, and they must work together to achieve a common goal.

The supervisor will encourage teamwork from the very beginning, and help the team members become familiar with one another.

They'll also establish their leadership and control early to ensure the team members follow their instruction and guidelines easily.

The supervisor also establishes discipline within the team, to ensure that the team members are aware of the rules and regulations, don't participate in any illegal activities, and don't cause trouble by creating or encouraging conflicts.

Discipline is essential in a team environment because personalities can clash, and people can slip. This discipline can only be effectively applied by a supervisor who has hands-on experience with the team.

3. Setting the goals and targets

Goals and targets provide direction to the team members, and give them something to focus on.

While long term goals and targets are usually decided by the upper management, the short-term goals and targets are often determined by supervisors. One of the primary responsibilities of the supervisor is to keep the team morale high and ensure they're productive. Goals can help supervisors do that.

Smaller, short term goals are more visible and easier to achieve. The team will feel like they're progressing and their hard work is paying off when they meet these goals.  Supervisors are aware of the capabilities of their team and therefore know how to set the best targets to get the best results.

Many supervisors have their own small budget which they can use in order to incentivise and reach these goals and targets. For example, many sales team supervisors may set small daily or weekly goals using a small budget referred to as a Sales Performance Incentive Fund, or SPIF.

A good supervisor will know how best to use these small budgets in order to get the best results out of using them.

4. Establishing communication guidelines

No team can be successful without good communication, and supervisors establish clear communication lines by providing instructions.

For example, the supervisor will teach the team members when they need to contact them with a problem, which modes of communication are acceptable, and what situations and actions must be reported.

Clear communications guidelines will give the team members the confidence to approach supervisors, which in turn will ensure the supervisors can provide prompt and direct assistance when needed.

Supervisors also communicate with the team regularly, and get their feedback on a number of matters. That helps build a good relationship between the team members and supervisors. It also ensures the team members are more loyal to the company, because they feel like they're a part of the business, rather than just an employee.

5. Directing resources

Supervisors also know how to direct resources well, and will make sure everyone's full potential is utilised.

They'll make sure the right employees are assigned to the right tasks, or in a sales environment, assign the right account managers to the right clients to increase the possibility of conversions.

They'll also make sure newcomers are assigned good and friendly mentors, so they might learn the ropes quickly and start being productive.

Proper assignment of resources increases the overall performance of the team, and helps them bring in more profit or other returns to the company.

Supervisors will take time and make the effort to understand the skill and ability of every member of the team before they make their decision. That helps them assign tasks well.

6. Report to the superiors

As mentioned before, supervisors are the link between the executives and ordinary team members of the company. They provide reporst on things like sales team's performance, progress, overall productivity, customer satisfaction etc so the higher-ups can keep track of everything.

If the supervisor doesn't provide these reports, the executives wouldn't know if there's a problem with the team and their performance. They won't notice any problems until they see a significant impact on a given area, such as the sales and revenue.

The supervisors will also convey all instructions and expectations of the upper management to the team to ensure they know what they need to change and where they need to improve. This feedback will have an impact on the overall productivity.

7. Troubleshoot problems

Supervisors are also responsible for handling any problems in the team and their performance, both quickly and decisively.

Most supervisors are capable of handling these tasks themselves. They'll only ask for input from upper management if the problem is out of their control and they're ill-equipped to handle it. Champion cup icon with long shadow.


As supervisors are usually present within the department, they're aware of what happens there on a daily basis and can identify problems before they get escalated.

If these issues are resolved quickly, they won't have any impact on the employees or the organization. Most supervisors are familiar with the process of handling large scale and small scale problems, so they'll make sure their team functions well.

As you can see, a supervisor is one of the most important aspects of a business' structure.

If you hire a competent one, you can be certain your company will have all the information you can be certain your team will deliver consistent results and perform as you expect it to. Or, if you have the right candidate available internally, ensure that they have the supervisory skills required to match all their other skills that make you feel like they're the person for the role. Sometimes, they already have them, and in other situations, you're going to have to give that person a bit of training as you promote them, but that will be well worth the investment!

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