Supervisor – The Overseers In Charge

Overseeing and supervising others, processes and outcomes is what supervisors do.

Most `supervisor’ jobs are filled by promoting office or administrative support workers from within the organization. Office automation will cause employment in some office and administrative support occupations to grow slowly or even decline, resulting in slower-than-average growth among supervisors and managers. Like those seeking other supervisory and managerial occupations, applicants are likely to encounter keen competition because their number should greatly exceed the number of job openings.

Most supervisors (irrespective whether they are new or seasoned professionals), perform administrative tasks to ensure that their staff can work efficiently. Equipment and machinery used in their departments must be in good working order. If the computer system goes down or a facsimile machine malfunctions, the supervisors must try to correct the problem or alert repair personnel. They also request new equipment or supplies for their department when necessary. Planning the work and supervising the staff are key functions of this job. To do these effectively, the supervisor must know the strengths and weaknesses of each member of the staff, as well as the results required from and time allotted to each job. Supervisors must make allowances for unexpected staff absences and other disruptions by adjusting assignments or performing the work themselves if the situation requires it.

After allocating work assignments and issuing deadlines, office and administrative support supervisors and managers oversee the work to ensure that it is proceeding on schedule and meeting established quality standards. This may involve reviewing each person’s work on a computer-as in the case of accounting clerks-or listening to how a worker deals with customers-as in the case of customer services representatives. When supervising long-term projects, the supervisor may meet regularly with staff members to discuss their progress. Those candidates working, motivating and managing others well, with confidence, general improvement of all and service excellence, will be most suited for this role. A combination of experience and education will be required.

Completion of secondary school is usually required. Completion of college courses may be required. Experience in the occupation supervised is usually required to be a successful candidate. Certification or licensing may be required for some occupations in this group (i.e., supervisors of commissionaires or security guards). Office and administrative support supervisors and managers are employed in a wide variety of work settings.

Most work a standard 40-hour week. Because some organizations operate around the clock, office and administrative support supervisors and managers may have to work nights, weekends, and holidays. Sometimes, supervisors rotate among the 8-hour three shifts in a workday; in other cases, shifts are assigned based on seniority.

Interested career entrants could encounter keen competition because the number of applicants should greatly exceed the number of job openings. Employment is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2012. In addition to the job openings arising from growth, a larger number of openings will stem from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave this large occupation for other reasons.

Job-boards and/or supervisor training institutions and providers often provide not only postings, but also links to more information, training and/or other career and industry-related sites, opportunities and networking channels

administrator, superintendent, overseer, shift super and many other similar terms are also used interchangeably at times


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