One cannot underestimate the roles of the supervisor in any organization.

A supervisor is a person who oversees the work of an employee or a group of employees. He ensures that it meets certain standards and requirements. He also ensures that, the said work or task is carried out in a required fashion or as the case maybe.

Roles of the  Supervisor

A supervisor is an “enforcer”. Someone responsible for the team’s accomplishment of the company’s mission. For this to be achieved, the supervisor must play other sub-roles. A supervisor should be knowledgeable about the task being handled by his team if he’s to be able to supervise them in the first place.

Coaching the team

This is one of the most important out of many other roles of the supervisor. He or she has to work with the team to draw up work plans and timelines. Such plans will ensure that they attain their goal in the long-term. To achieve this, the supervisor provides guidance, criticism and support to the team as they work. The team depends on his or her abilities thereby assigning the supervisor, “coach” status.

He serves as the middle man.

The supervisor is also the middle man between management and employees. For instance, if there’s a new policy(s) from management, it most times passes it on to employees through their supervisor. This is because the management expects the supervisor  to have a better relationship with the employees in his or her team. The management also expects the supervisor  to know how best to pass this information to them without wrecking havoc on the status quo. Whenever employees are unsatisfied or confused, it is easier for them to reach out to their supervisor. They can ask questions and the supervisor would in turn make things clear for them.

Relating employees’ concerns to the management.

Furthermore, it is also one of the roles of  the supervisor to take employees’ concerns and requests to management. Since he or she is directly overseeing the employees, they are more comfortable to reach out to him or her with their problems. Supervisors in most organizations are privy to attend management meetings. They are able to use such avenues to represent the employees who work under them.

More roles of the Supervisor in an organization include:

Training and development

Supervisors create or generate training plans. The purpose of this is to ensure that the employees have the necessary skills to carry out their jobs. It  also makes provision for new employees to get acquainted and know what is required of them with regards to being a part of the team.

Employee Management.

Supervisors set standards for their employees. They provide appropriate and timely feedback of employee’s performance. If employee’s performance comes up inadequate, the supervisor provides  counsels for such employee. If performance is found worthy, he (the supervisor) recommends the employee for an award or reward.


When there is a need to create a new role or fill an existing one, it is the supervisor who notices the need. He communicates this with management who subsequently make provision. The supervisor reviews job adverts, conducts interviews and recommends the candidate to be hired. He therefore ensures that the most suitable candidate gets the job offer.

Policies and Procedures.

Adhering to the company’s policies and procedures is important. The supervisor ensures that his team follows these policies and procedures as required. He does this by adhering to these rules as well, thereby exhibiting leadership by example.

Team Development.

They know how important it is for the team to develop career wise and individually as well. Supervisors support their employees to achieve their goals and become better.

Now that we have seen the roles of the supervisor, let’s take a look at some leadership  qualities he must possess.

Leadership Qualities of a Supervisor

A good leader will “walk the talk”, not say one thing and be found doing something entirely different. A supervisor stays on the right course and holds him or herself to the same standard expected of all employees in the workplace. He or she also makes the right decision when the occasion arises. The employees look up to their supervisor and follow his or her lead. If he or she is not “trustworthy”, the employees lose their respect for their supervisor. Obviously, things won’t work well in the workplace.


A supervisor should be an approachable person. He should be easily accessible by his employees. In some organizations the supervisor’s office is just within reach of the employees. In others, they may even share the same office space. This is to ensure that the employees feel relaxed and take the supervisor as an integral part of their team.  They can also go to him or her whenever they need to. They don’t see their supervisor in the same manner they see other management staff.


Since most of the supervisor’s work is about other people and how they work together to achieve a unique goal, a supervisor needs to have the ability to put his or herself in the position of others. He or she must be able to  see things from their perspective.  The result of this is to know how best to help others in the organization and employees in particular.


A supervisor needs to be able to adapt to fit into any role within their reach. For instance if an employee is unavoidably absent, his or her supervisor should be able to fit into the role to ensure that the team does not notice the absence of the employee.

Straight Forward

Supervisors should be able to treat their employees in a “just” manner. This will ensure that favouritism does not come into play in the way they handle their affairs. Favouritism will lead to divisions among their team members hence leading to loss in focus and concentration. They should also be honest in their dealings and not be found wanting both in deed and in character.


It is only fair that a supervisor be someone who learns at a fast pace. Being the leader of the team doesn’t mean the supervisor will know everything. But, because employees look up to their supervisor for coaching and mentorship, it is therefore important that a supervisor be someone who constantly improves their knowledge base and motivates the employees as well.

Contributed by Keresifon Ekpo @staybusy project.

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