Supervision | Definition | Functions of supervisor

What is supervision?


Supervision is a quasi-managerial function. Supervision involves directing and overseeing the job of subordinates which normally include, rank and file employees, blue collar technicians and workers carrying out their operations in an organization. Supervisory function is performed with a view to ensure that subordinates work effectively and efficiently so that the organizational goals can be attained.

Who is a supervisor?

The person who is entrusted with the job of supervision is commonly known as supervisor. The other terms used to denote the term supervisors are – Section officer, Foreman, Overseer, Superintendent. His position in an organization is unique.

A supervisor is in-charge of a small primary work group. He is the front line representative of management. He has direct contact with non-managerial employees i.e., workers. He is at the bottom of the managerial hierarchy. He is directly concerned with issuing orders and instructions, laying down the methods of work. He is responsible for initiating action also.

Functions of Supervisor:

Functions of supervisorA Supervisor creates a proper climate:

One of the functions of supervisor is that he has to create a proper climate in the work group so as to enable them to co-operate with him and follow strictly his instructions, guidance and advice. Without this, the primary functions of supervisor by getting things done through his work group cannot be performed.

A Supervisor has to define tasks:

To define the tasks to his work group is another important functions of supervisor. The supervisor is required to define the tasks needed to be performed by his work group and assign the tasks so defined to the group members. He has to set performance goals for them in clear terms and make them accountable for results.

Supervisor has to provide the needed amenities:

It is the important function of supervisor to provide the needed amenities. The supervisor should ensure that the physical, informational and other resources are made available to workers on an adequate and timely basis. He has to pay attention on availability of tools and equipment, materials and provision of wholesome physical working conditions.

Supervisor should be capable of instructing and directing his group members

The supervisor should be technically competent to instruct and direct his group members as to how to perform the tasks. Instructions may not be required by all the members in the group. So instruction and direction should be provided only on a selective basis. The supervisor should try to promote self-reliance among members of his work group so that they need not unduly depend on him.

A Supervisor should try to move the group towards Performance of the Assigned Tasks

Another important function of the supervisor is moving the group towards performance of the assigned tasks and attainment of the predetermined goals. This is a control function with the aim of ensuring that what is planned is achieved at the level of the work unit. He should not view his control function in restrictive, punitive terms. In the normal course, his control function should be suggestive, persuasive, supportive and reformative. But when it is absolutely essential, he should not hesitate to affirm and assert his authority.

Activating the communication channels

Activating the communication channels with the top level management is one of the important functions of the supervisor. Very often important operational decisions are made mainly on the basis of the information supplied and assessment made by the supervisor. Therefore, the supervisor should be prompt, factual and honest in reporting to the top level management with regard to the state of the functioning of his unit, the nature of existing and emerging problems, etc.

Evaluating performance

The supervisor evaluates the performance of the members of his work group in the light of set standards. This enables the supervisor to identify the weaknesses if any and to suggest corrective measures to rectify the same.