| As a supervisor, one of your primary roles is managing. You are responsible for managing the resources (especially the human resources) of your department. A manager is frequently described as "someone who gets results through other people." The tasks of a manager are classically defined as those of planning, organizing, staffing, motivating, and controlling. Does that sound like what you're called on to do in your job?
If you look at these five functions carefully, you'll see that they really operate as a continuous cycle. Goals are established and plans are made in order to achieve a specific and desired result. Materials, machines, and time are organized, and people are selected to carry out the plans. While the work is going on, you direct and motivate. As soon as the work is progressing, you control the results by measuring, monitoring, and evaluating. When the result is not satisfactory, you analyze the reasons, make plans to deal with the causes, organize staff, direct, and control the new plans. Thus, the cycle starts all over again.
Management theorists talk about the cycle we've examined in terms of three elements: planning, action, and control.
To be effective as a supervisor, you must be a manager in the truest sense of the word. You plan, take action, and control.
The Supervisor As A Leader
Of the three elements in the management cycle, a supervisor spends the majority of time on activities connected with the action phase: organizing, staffing and motivating. It's in this phase that you are concerned with the people aspects of getting the work out. And it's in this phase that you are called upon to wear the hat of a leader.
Your success in leading your department to greater productivity and profits lies in the word "leading". You are a supervisor. Your role is leadership.
In today's business and industrial climate, the best-laid plans and the tightest controls will produce minimal results unless they are activated by a skilled, professional leader. As a leader, you must be able to inspire people to follow your lead. No matter how technically capable you are, you won't be effective as a leader unless you gain the willing cooperation of others. You are the team's coach, captain, quarterback, cheerleader, and fan all rolled into one. You are the "linking pin" between the organization's goals and the workers, the people who the organization depends on to accomplish those goals. The best systems and procedures will produce limited results unless they are administered with full recognition of the fact that the workers who are to implement the systems and procedures are human and need to be managed, supervised, and guided by a leader.
As a supervisor, you must do much more than manage. You must gain the willing cooperation of those who look to you for leadership. You must learn to use all your strengths by recognizing, developing and utilizing the physical, mental and spiritual talents of your subordinates. It is a cooperative effort. Cooperation is not getting the other person to do what you want. Cooperation means getting the other person to want to do what you want.
Excerpts from Turrisi & Associates Supervisory Development Program and RAC