A supervisor oversees human and non-human processes of a company, and is responsible for the flow of information and work. Unlike a specialized technician or expert who works on a specific task or project, a supervisor oversees many employees and handles problems when they arise. The supervisor is also the person to visit when help is needed, so she must be ready to assess a problem, guide, and mentor employees.
Whether you're supervising human or non-human processes, strong verbal and written communication is a must for any supervisor. She will communicate in many directions, from upper management to subordinates and to fellow supervisors. A supervisor also needs to be able to make clear oral presentations and listen effectively. She will have to clarify misunderstandings and questions to make sure her group is on-task. In any organization, the clear flow of information is crucial to the survival of the company. A supervisor makes sure that information is clarified and that definitions and terms are streamlined among employees.
A supervisor not only gives orders, but she should also observe what is happening among subordinates. If a problem arises, the supervisor must stand out by identifying and analyzing the problem, weighing the accuracy of information, gathering possible solutions, and making recommendations and final decisions.
Good leadership and interpersonal skills go hand-in-hand. A supervisor should always treat other people with respect, courtesy, and sensitivity. Leading people requires that you foster a respectful environment, and that means setting an example of professionalism, positive attitude, and empathy for colleagues. When this happens, subordinates will become better followers. The key is to treat others as you would want to be treated. Workplace satisfaction and happiness stem from a feeling of being worthwhile and important, according to "Forbes." A supervisor should encourage this type of thinking among her team members to make the company as successful as possible.
Technical knowledge a supervisor needs will depend on her field. For example, a technical supervisor in a computer company will need to understand the software and coding languages her technicians are using. That way, when a problem arises, she can help to solve it and communicate information department-wide about what went wrong. A warehouse supervisor needs a firm knowledge of organizational behavior and the processes of the warehouse. Along with special people skills, the supervisor must also be highly knowledgeable about the specifics of the company's work and the bigger mission at hand.
Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.