ISSUE 33 ISSN 1712-468
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Improving a Supervisor’s Knowledge of Work and Responsibilities

Yesterday, my wife shared with me a conversation she had had with a lady at church. It seems there had been further cuts in the supervisory/management ranks of the person’s organization. The lady’s comment was, “Well, it’s good they are making those cuts because we peons really do all the work.”

Isn’t it interesting that supervisors and managers are not usually thought of as skilled workers?

To do their job, they need certain skills.

But skills are not enough.

They must have specific knowledge.

For example . . .

  • They need to know the ins and outs of what goes on in their department and what is needed to turn out the necessary production.
  • They need to know what the men and/or women on their team must be able to do to successfully meet their goals.
  • They need to know what is expected of them as their manager’s representative.
  • They need to know their responsibilities.

I believe there’s a huge training field here that is often ignored by assuming “the supervisors know, otherwise they wouldn’t be supervisors.”

It is your job as a coach, HR director, or trainer to provide a way for supervisors and managers to acquire what they need to know.

I remember being hired in the role of operations manager for a manufacturing company.

  • One main challenge was that I didn’t know enough about equipment manufacturing to do the job as effectively as it needed to be done.
  • The bigger challenge was that the role changed after I was hired.

I took the time to create a profile of the “new” position using the CRG Job Style Indicator and compared the results to the scores of my own CRG Personal Style Indicator. The results were exactly what I expected them to be. I was not suited for that position—both when I started and after the job responsibilities changed.

I took the scores to the owner of the company and showed him what was happening and why we were both getting frustrated. In fact, I told him that if I were hiring for this position, I would bypass me as a candidate because there was such discrepancy between the JSI and the PSI scores.

Unfortunately, he insisted we could make it work.

Famous last words.

Well, it lasted another 6 months. Then I hired my replacement for that position and took on a role within the organization for which I was better suited.

What abilities do supervisors/managers need?

1.   The ability to convey information

Do your supervisors need to communicate information to a group of people? Do they ever try to get a department to accept some change? If your supervisors can’t “put across” the ideas you are wanting to implement, your program may fail.

Although skilled communicators are rare, people can learn simple techniques that can be of value in any company. Why not consider enrolling your supervisor in a Toastmasters group?

2.   The ability to improve methods of work

Training or retraining people to do their work in a more effective, efficient way may be new to some organizations. Managers/supervisors need to know how to continually improve their areas of responsibility. In an organization or department, you must continually improve or face stagnation or possibly a backward slide.

How about enrolling your managers in a Lean Manufacturing course or a course on Organizational Behavior offered at a local college? Or sending them to your industry’s tradeshows so they can interact with others in the same field and bring home fresh ideas?

The ROI for those training dollars will be returned multiple times to your company.

As a side note, please make sure the right people are getting the right training. That will ensure they use it. The result will be a positive investment in their time management, use of the equipment and materials, and their overall efforts.

3.   The ability to work with individuals and groups

Consistently applying the fundamentals of good interpersonal relations will prevent many problems. CRG has numerous proven learning and communication tools that can help people understand themselves and others much better. Why not attend the next CRG Assessment System Certification program? Check here for upcoming dates.

So let’s get back to the comment about who really does the work in an organization. You are correct that the people on the work floor are the ones who carry out much of the physical work required to help an organization reach its goals. To be most effective and efficient, however, the people doing that work require the expertise of a manager or supervisor who . . .

  • has the right knowledge about how the work can best be done, and
  • can organize the team in a way that will capitalize on everyone’s strengths.

To find out more about the full holistic suite of CRG solutions, please visit us online at

Yours truly,

Neal Diamond

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