Supervisor

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A 1940s poster from the United States Any Questions About Your Work - poster.jpg
A 1940s poster from the United States

A supervisor, or also known as foreman, boss,overseer, facilitator, monitor, area coordinator, or sometimes gaffer, is the job title of a low level management position that is primarily based on authority over a worker or charge of a workplace. [1] A supervisor can also be one of the most senior in the staff at the place of work, such as a Professor who oversees a PhD dissertation. Supervision, on the other hand, can be performed by people without this formal title, for example by parents. The term supervisor itself can be used to refer to any personnel who have this task as part of their job description.

Professor academic title at universities and other post-secondary education and research institutions in most countries

Professor is an academic rank at universities and other post-secondary education and research institutions in most countries. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences, a teacher of the highest rank.

Supervision is an act or instance of directing, managing, or oversight.

Contents

An employee is a supervisor if he/she has the power and authority to do the following actions (according to the Ontario Ministry of Labour):

  1. Give instructions and/or orders to subordinates.
  2. Be held responsible for the work and actions of other employees.

If an employee cannot do the above, legally, he or she is probably not a supervisor, but in some other category, such as a work group leader or lead hand.

A supervisor is first and foremost an overseer whose main responsibility is to ensure that a group of subordinates get out the assigned amount of production, when they are supposed to do it and within acceptable levels of quality, costs and safety.

A supervisor is responsible for the productivity and actions of a small group of employees. The supervisor has several manager-like roles, responsibilities, and powers. Two of the key differences between a supervisor and a manager are (1) the supervisor does not typically have "hire and fire" authority, and (2) the supervisor does not have budget authority.

Budget balance sheet or statement of estimated receipts and expenditures

A budget is a financial plan for a defined period, often one year. It may also include planned sales volumes and revenues, resource quantities, costs and expenses, assets, liabilities and cash flows. Companies, governments, families and other organizations use it to express strategic plans of activities or events in measurable terms.

Lacking "hire and fire" authority means that a supervisor may not recruit the employees working in the supervisor's group nor does the supervisor have the authority to terminate an employee. The supervisor may participate in the hiring process as part of interviewing and assessing candidates, but the actual hiring authority rests in the hands of a Human Resource Manager. The supervisor may recommend to management that a particular employee be terminated and the supervisor may be the one who documents the behaviors leading to the recommendation but the actual firing authority rests in the hands of a manager.

Recruitment refers to the overall process of attracting, shortlisting, selecting and appointing suitable candidates for jobs within an organization. Recruitment can also refer to processes involved in choosing individuals for unpaid roles. Managers, human resource generalists and recruitment specialists may be tasked with carrying out recruitment, but in some cases public-sector employment agencies, commercial recruitment agencies, or specialist search consultancies are used to undertake parts of the process. Internet-based technologies which support all aspects of recruitment have become widespread.

Termination of employment end of employment

Termination of employment is an employee's departure from a job and the end of an employee's duration with an employer. Termination may be voluntary on the employee's part, or it may be at the hands of the employer, often in the form of dismissal (firing) or a layoff. Dismissal or firing is typically thought to be the fault of the employee, whereas a layoff is usually done for business reasons outside the employee's performance.

Lacking budget authority means that a supervisor is provided a budget developed by management within which constraints the supervisor is expected to provide a productive environment for the employees of the supervisor's work group. A supervisor will usually have the authority to make purchases within specified limits. A supervisor is also given the power to approve work hours and other payroll issues. Normally, budget affecting requests such as travel will require not only the supervisor's approval but the approval of one or more layers of management.

As a member of management, a supervisor's main job is more concerned with orchestrating and controlling work rather than performing it directly.

Role & Responsibilities

Supervisors are uniquely positioned through direct daily employee contact to respond to employee needs, problems, and satisfaction. Supervisors are the direct link between management and the work force and can be most effective in developing job training, safety attitudes, safe working methods and identifying unsafe acts

Tasks

"Doing" can take up to 70% of the time - (this varies according to the type of supervisory job - the doing involves the actual work of the department as well as the planning, controlling, scheduling, organizing, leading, etc.). [2]

Training

Supervisors often do not require any formal education on how they are to perform their duties but are most often given on-the-job training or attend company sponsored courses. Many employers have supervisor handbooks that need to be followed. Supervisors must be aware of their legal responsibilities to ensure that their employees work safely and that the workplace that they are responsible for meets government standards.

Academia

In academia, a supervisor is a senior scientist or scholar who, along with their own responsibilities, aids and guides a postdoctoral researcher, postgraduate research student or undergraduate student in their research project; offering both moral support and scientific insight and guidance. The term is used in several countries for the doctoral advisor of a graduate student.

A doctoral advisor is a member of a university faculty whose role is to guide graduate students who are candidates for a doctorate, helping them select coursework, as well as shaping, refining and directing the students' choice of sub-discipline in which they will be examined or on which they will write a dissertation. Students generally choose advisors based on their areas of interest within their discipline, their desire to work closely with particular graduate faculty, and the willingness and availability of those faculty to work with them.

Gaffer

In colloquial British English, "gaffer" means a foreman, and is used as a synonym for "boss". In the UK, the term also commonly refers to sports coaches (football, rugby, etc.).

British English is the standard dialect of the English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Rugby football refers to the team sports of rugby league and rugby union.

The term is also sometimes used colloquially to refer to an old man, an elderly rustic. The word is probably a shortening of "godfather", with "ga" from association with "grandfather". The female equivalent, "gammer", came to refer colloquially to an old lady or to a gossip. [3] The use of gaffer in this way can be seen, for example, in J.R.R. Tolkien's character Gaffer Gamgee.

In 16th century English a "gaffer" was a man who was the head of any organized group of labourers. In 16th and 17th century rural England, it was used as a title slightly inferior to "Master", similar to "Goodman", and was not confined to elderly men. The chorus of a famous Australian shearer's song, The Backblocks' Shearer (also known as Widgegoeera Joe), written by W. Tully at Nimidgee, NSW (c.1900), refers to a gaffer:

Hurrah, me boys, my shears are set,
I feel both fit and well;
Tomorrow you’ll find me at my pen
When the gaffer rings the bell.
With Hayden's patent thumb guards fixed
And both my blades pulled back;
Tomorrow I go with my sardine blow
For a century or the sack!

First-line supervisors

I-O psychology research on first-line supervisors suggests that supervisors with the most productive work groups have the following qualities:

See also

Related Research Articles

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Onboarding onboarding

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A job attitude is a set of evaluations of one's job that constitute one's feelings toward, beliefs about, and attachment to one's job. Overall job attitude can be conceptualized in two ways. Either as affective job satisfaction that constitutes a general or global subjective feeling about a job, or as a composite of objective cognitive assessments of specific job facets, such as pay, conditions, opportunities and other aspects of a particular job. Employees evaluate their advancement opportunities by observing their job, their occupation, and their employer.

Managing up and managing down is studied as part of management studies, and details how a middle manager should effectively deal with his or her manager and with his or her subordinates. Additionally, managing up on its own may be a useful skill for a subordinate who in turn does not manage anyone. It is generally considered to be distinct from "sucking up" or "kissing up" to the manager and "kicking down" to subordinates as it involves benign and straightforward influencing rather than underhand manipulation.

References

  1. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-23. Retrieved 2015-02-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Who is a Supervisor under the Occupational Health and Safety Act? (2015) Ontario Ministry of Labour. Retrieved Feb 23, 2015.
  2. Miller, Patricia (1988). Powerful Leadership Skills for Women. p. 86.
  3. The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 5th Edition, OUP 1964

Further reading

Schultz & Schultz, Duane (2010). Psychology and work today. New York: Prentice Hall. pp. 169–170. ISBN   0-205-68358-4.