What Is Successful Supervision and Management?

Authored by: Herman Koren , Alma Mary Anderson

Management and Supervisory Practices for Environmental Professionals

Print publication date:  February  2021
Online publication date:  February  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367647025
eBook ISBN: 9781003130529
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/9781003130529-3

 

Abstract

When you have successfully completed this lesson, you should

Understand the many qualities which are important for you to become a good supervisor/manager.

Recognize the use of time as one of the most important tools in the art of supervision and management.

Understand various techniques used to train supervisors/managers.

Have learned how to make proper decisions.

Have learned how and when to delegate authority.

Understand the role of public relations in the image and success of the organization.

Have learned how to give instructions in a clear and satisfactory manner.

Recognize that getting cooperation from individuals is a better means of achieving proper goals than attempting to force the individuals into doing things against their will.

Have learned how to stimulate creative thinking on the part of the employees and to get them to present their useful ideas.

Have learned how to get along with your boss and understand what he/she expects of you and what you expect from your supervisor/manager in return.

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What Is Successful Supervision and Management?

Learning Objectives

When you have successfully completed this lesson, you should

  1. Understand the many qualities which are important for you to become a good supervisor/manager.
  2. Recognize the use of time as one of the most important tools in the art of supervision and management.
  3. Understand various techniques used to train supervisors/managers.
  4. Have learned how to make proper decisions.
  5. Have learned how and when to delegate authority.
  6. Understand the role of public relations in the image and success of the organization.
  7. Have learned how to give instructions in a clear and satisfactory manner.
  8. Recognize that getting cooperation from individuals is a better means of achieving proper goals than attempting to force the individuals into doing things against their will.
  9. Have learned how to stimulate creative thinking on the part of the employees and to get them to present their useful ideas.
  10. Have learned how to get along with your boss and understand what he/she expects of you and what you expect from your supervisor/manager in return.

Fundamental Management Information

Introduction

The primary function of supervisors/managers of all types is leadership and management in a people-oriented environment. The supervisor/manager who is going to be successful must understand people, why they work or do not work, and what is needed to motivate these individuals on a day-to-day basis. The good supervisor/manager is an effective planner of work, a source of technical knowledge, and a mediator between management that sets the policy and the employees who make the programs work. The supervisor/manager needs to develop a climate with good human relations at the departmental level. The supervisor/manager will help shape the attitudes and motivate employees toward better performance. He or she must interpret and apply company policies, specific ordinances, rules, and tasks which are needed in the given program. The supervisor/manager trains new employees and instructs older employees on work effectiveness, efficiency, and safety. The supervisor/manager counsels and disciplines employees and initiates or recommends personnel action such as promotion, transfer, and merit pay. The supervisor/manager plans and maintains time and work schedules, and adjusts them as needed, based on knowledge of the specific situation. It is the function of the supervisor/manager to make sure that the quality of service and the final product is in keeping with the high quality expected from the organization. The supervisor/manager is the conduit through which information flows from the higher levels of administration to the individuals in the program areas and vice versa.

 

The supervisor/manager has responsibility to people he or she supervises, to peers, and also to other supervisors/managers. He or she is the individual who deals with all groups in order to keep work flowing in a smooth and even manner. The employee reports to the supervisor/manager and the supervisor/manager reports to the middle manager, who then reports to the top administrative officer.

Responsibility to the People the Supervisor/Manager Supervises

The supervisor/manager needs to know each of the people he/she supervises as individual human beings. Each person has specific needs and wants and certain expectations from work. Individuals work for many more reasons than just earning a living, although the money is essential to maintain life and health. If we worked only for money, many of us would leave our positions and go to jobs that paid more, but which give us less personal satisfaction. Hence, the smart supervisor/manager will try to enhance the work experience of each of the individuals and create an environment which will be happy and challenging.

In order to develop rapport with people he/she supervises, the supervisor/manager must also understand the principles of good communication, which includes being a good listener. Individuals want to know that the supervisors/managers care about them and are prepared to assist them when needed. This does not mean that the supervisor/manager digs into their personal affairs, but rather is sensitive to their needs and concerns.

Not all individuals are willing to become familiar with their immediate supervisor/manager. As a result of this, the supervisor/manager must be careful not to step on the individual’s rights and to respect the individual’s privacy.

The supervisor/manager should make sure that the individual fits the job and makes whatever adjustments are necessary. If this is not possible, it may be wise to transfer the employee to a different task. The supervisor/manager needs to back up the person when the individual has carried out specific instructions in an appropriate manner and is being criticized for doing this by other individuals or the public. If it is necessary to critically review a person, it should never be done in front of other people. It should always be done very gently. If the first critical review is not effective, then it is necessary to start the process of reviewing the situation with a consideration of some form of further action if it is needed. All of this should be documented in writing. If the supervisor/manager offers constructive criticism, he or she should also offer adequate instructions and training on how to make necessary changes in work habits or work performance. Handling complaints and problems in a fair and just way creates a good atmosphere for the entire group. Handled poorly it causes dissension and ends up in grievances.

The supervisor/manager must always be conscious of protecting and promoting the health and welfare of the people he/she supervises while they are on work assignments. The most important thing the supervisor/manager can do is set an example of good behavior. The supervisor/manager should never be late or absent unless there is a specific reason for such. Never ask your employees to do things which you, yourself, will not do.

Responsibility to Peers

The supervisor/manager’s peers are fellow supervisor/managers of different departments. They can directly or indirectly affect the outcome of a program. The peers can act as a network of assistance to the supervisor/manager and help the individual in situations where the peers have personal experience. The supervisor/manager’s responsibility to peers is to know and understand each of the individuals, communicate and cooperate with them in an effective manner, and provide as much help as possible when needed. Cooperation and teamwork lead to good morale and motivation, and in the end are very helpful to the supervisor/manager when he or she is trying to be successful.

Responsibility to Higher Level Management

The supervisor/manager has a responsibility to managers who are both in a line function and in a staff function. These responsibilities include

  1. Transmitting information about problems, along with recommendations for resolving them.
  2. Operating within the budget which has been allotted to the program.
  3. Enforcing company policy.
  4. Promoting goals and objectives of the organization.
  5. Attempting to be as efficient and effective as possible.
  6. Maintaining all records and reports and providing them as needed in proper format and on time.
  7. Utilizing the skills of people and other resources effectively.
  8. Developing appropriate work schedules to meet deadlines.
  9. Providing necessary cooperation with upper level administration.

The Supervisor/Manager’s Roles

The supervisor/manager has many roles. These include using time in an effective and efficient manner, delegating authority, good public relations, turning policy into programs, giving appropriate instructions in an effective manner, getting cooperation from people, getting useful ideas from employees, getting along with supervisor/managers, and above all exhibiting a constant level of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm—it is contagious, in a good sense. At times the supervisor/manager, because of having to serve so many different roles, will find that to get the job done, he or she is in conflict with one or more of the hats he or she is wearing.

These role conflicts have to be resolved, and the supervisor/manager should turn to higher management levels to ask for help and direction when it is needed.

Summary

Supervisor/Managers in industry, engineering, environment, occupational health and safety, nursing, government, and other professional areas are the most important part of the management team, since they carry out the major functions of leading, coordinating, and directing the work of others in order to achieve the groups’ goals.

They are closest to the actual work being performed and therefore are in a position to understand quickly whether or not problems exist, and recommend how to handle them.

Lesson Discussion

I  Introduction

Supervision and Management Are

What?

Selecting, teaching, measuring, rating people, correcting, eliminating, commending, rewarding, harmonizing, respecting, planning, organizing, leading, communicating, and exhibiting enthusiasm.

How?

Fairly, patiently, and tactfully

Along With?

Time, material, money, and human resources.

Purpose?

Motivating people to do their assigned tasks.

Result?

Achieving the organization’s goals skillfully, accurately, intelligently, enthusiastically, and completely

II  Six Qualities Important to Success as a Supervisor/Manager

  1. Thoroughness—especially in obtaining all necessary details and in using adequate base information.
  2. Fairness—equal treatment for all employees. Investigate problems carefully because poor performance may be due to poor equipment, poor lighting, inadequate materials, or improper instruction.
  3. Initiative—assume responsibility and start and do things without prodding. The supervisor/manager needs self-confidence, which is based on knowledge, experience (know your job), and practice in decision making. Take care to manage your own life first. Poorly managed personal finances or family problems affect work productivity.
  4. Tact—make employees feel important about their jobs. Constructively criticize the work and not the worker and respect the employee as an individual.
  5. Emotional Control—control and channel your emotions, and do not allow your emotions to control you. Emotions cannot be eliminated, but remember that emotional control is not based on how you feel, but on how you act, what you say, and how you say it. The four rules for gaining self-control are to recognize the importance of self-control, wait a second or two before responding when you are emotionally upset, when irritated over little things try to relax physicallyif this can be done, emotional stability will soon follow, look at your troubles in retrospect. Avoid worrying by listening to all the possible consequences. Work on more reasonable consequences, and disregard the worst possible ones (if they happen, you need not worry anymore).
  6. Enthusiasm—enthusiasm can help you conquer many faults. It is contagious and will rid you of that “old tired feeling,” and will help you gain promotions and promote self-confidence and self-satisfaction.

III  Time as a Tool

One of the supervisor/manager’s most important assets is the ability to make time work in his/her favor. By doing this, the supervisor/manager is able to work at a higher level of efficiency and is able to inspire others to work at a high level of efficiency.

 

It is clearly evident that many individuals in our modem society constantly waste time. In fact, the newly hired person is indoctrinated into time-killing routines. Unfortunately, this has led to numerous problems, including reduction in work efficiency and an increase in inflation. It is necessary to turn this time management condition around and ensure that the use of time is of greatest significance. The key to accomplishing this is through self-discipline. The supervisor/manager must utilize the following approaches:

  1. Measure time utilized for each activity.
  2. Set priorities.
  3. Ration your time.
  4. Schedule your work.
  5. Delegate responsibilities wherever and whenever possible.

A good approach to determine how much time is used on various activities is to set up a chart by day, week, and month. Analyze how much time you use in each activity in each particular 15-minute period. Determine how much of your time is used for planning, for assembling materials and goods in preparation for the work, and how much time is used in each of the actual work activities. For the supervisor/manager it is important to determine how much time is used for opening and reading mail, responding, attending meetings, holding conferences, and in the actual work of supervision and management. If you do this for a period of one week, you will soon find out that much of the time that is available to you during the week is being wasted.

The way to avoid this waste is to set priorities. Determine what is most important to you during that particular time period, what you must accomplish, what can be postponed, and what can be delegated. It would be wise at the beginning of each day to take five minutes to close your eyes and quietly plan what you are going to do in the course of the day. Later, write down what you have accomplished, analyze this information, and determine what you did not accomplish and determine why. You may find that the jobs that are most boring to you are being put off. You may also be putting off decisions which you are afraid to make or are unable to make. It is best, once you have determined where your time is spent and if it is being spent inefficiently, to discuss the time problem with your supervisor/manager and ask for recommendations on how best to use and manage your time.

Supervisors/Managers are overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive on a daily basis, which could be as many as 100–150 per day. Answering all of these would probably keep you busy a good part of the day and not allow for the many activities that a supervisor/manager must perform. Request that all individuals writing to you should only do so about central matters and that the nature of the subject should be clearly stated under the subject heading, so you can decide whether or not to respond. The supervisor/manager must determine from the subject heading what is essential and what is not, and only respond to essential emails. Obviously, all email/messages from upper management must be opened immediately and are priority for response.

 

In order to get the best performance from employees, you should ask them to determine the best and most efficient way for them to utilize their time and explain how you can, as their supervisor/manager, give them necessary assistance to make their time more meaningful. A busy person performing a constructive task will be a happy person. A person who watches the clock because of boredom with a task will be an unhappy and less confident person.

Scheduling is the most important single thing that you can do to improve your time management. However, recognize that when scheduling you must learn to expect the unexpected. When this occurs, it is wise to accept the problem, handle it with as little frustration as possible, and then get back to the routine you have established.

Try to find shortcuts to utilize each of your assigned tasks. Utilize the time saved from the shortcuts to work with the people you supervise, and help them in every way possible.

IV  Education for the Supervisor/Manager

In addition to learning from older established supervisors/managers and from working with your colleagues in order to improve your art of supervision and management, it is important to develop a very definitive education program to improve yourself. In order to find what area is most important to you, you should sit down with an outline of the various topics within this course and ask yourself, “Which of these topics constitute my biggest problems?”. Then, you must ask yourself, “How can I find ways to resolve these problems?”. Once you have established the problems and some of the techniques, there are several ways in which you may improve yourself.

You can read selective material in a rapid manner. By enrolling in a speed-reading course at an accredited center or at a local college, you may be able to increase your reading speed of 200 words per minute to a level of more than 800 words per minute.

 

You might be able to participate in a group of industry activities, particularly those activities in which individuals are giving down-to-earth presentations on various special problems in supervision and management or special problems in industry. Be active in community affairs. This gives you an opportunity to step out of your role as a supervisor/manager and see how you fit into the overall community. Attend classes which will be meaningful to you. These can be college level, community college level, technical school level, or continuing education level. Talk to and watch others in operation. This will be of considerable value to you.

V  Making the Right Decisions

The supervisor/manager who gets things done is the one who knows how to act decisively and in a proper manner. Before you act, you must think. You must determine what you are trying to do, how are you planning to achieve it, who is going to be involved, why you are going to do it, where the decision takes you, and when is the best time to carry out the decision.

A chronological sequence of steps varies from time to time in decision making, but the following list usually applies:

  • Get the right questions. You may have several problems instead of one big problem. Therefore, you may be making a series of decisions instead of one.
  • List all the facts you need in order to make a good decision. It is a good idea to put the facts on paper/computer so that you actually see what the facts are. If you see the facts, you may find that you need to gather further information in order to make a proper decision.
  • Carefully examine all of the information, possible solutions, and potential ramifications of the solutions.
  • Outline the pros and cons of each solution based on the previous study.
  • Select the best solution. Make sure you will be able to live with the solution without worrying. Make sure as you make your selection that it is a logical decision and not an emotional one. Do not make a hasty decision. Relax before you make your final deliberation. Study any solutions that do not seem to go along with your decision. Double-check all of the ramifications of your decision.
  • Make your decision and act upon it. If it works, you made the right decision. If it does not work, then it is time to reevaluate it, to get more information, and then to make a different decision.

Taking no action at all is the worst way to make your decision. Do not allow someone else to make your decisions for you. In the long run, that person may be earning your salary.

VI  Delegating Authority

Delegating your authority to other people will give you added hours so that you can truly carry out your functions of planning, controlling, and proper supervising/managing. When you delegate authority wisely, you will create a situation where one or more people can carry on your job in the event of illness, an accident, or when you wish to take a worry-free vacation.

The first step of delegation is the hardest one of all. This is when you must make the decision to let others do some of the work. It is not easy to let go. If you are a successful leader, you must accept and support the decisions and actions of those who make them in your name. This makes the delegation even harder since you know that the ultimate responsibility will come back to you. However, you must understand that when you do delegate authority, you do not surrender your rights and responsibilities to others. You are not only accountable for what is done, but you also have the right to change what is being done.

An important factor in delegation is to thoroughly know the capabilities of the person to whom you delegate your authority. You should understand this individual’s training, interests, likes and dislikes, and capabilities. You should list this person’s strengths and weaknesses, and evaluate them before making your decision to delegate. You must give to this individual all of the facts about his/her responsibility, and provide a clear understanding of what they are to do and how to do it. Tell them how much responsibility and authority they have. You must also make sure that all those working for you will continue to work for this individual and follow the rules that you have set forth.

It is essential to impress upon all the workers the importance of following the established routine. Each person must understand that the acting supervisor/manager carries the same authority as the supervisor/manager and that you want them to give the acting supervisor/manager assistance in the same way they would give it to you.

When you have given this authority to another individual, do not get involved in the operation. Give the individual an opportunity to perform and perform well. Give him/her an opportunity to do what is necessary to come up with a good product. Leave your door open so that the acting supervisor/manager can come in and you may help him/her make decisions.

When mistakes occur, do not take over right away. You will undermine the confidence of the acting supervisor/manager and lower his/her prestige among the other workers. Mistakes will happen, especially among people who do not have your experience or knowledge. The smart individual will learn from mistakes. You can aid by correcting him/her in a tactful manner. In a reasonable period of time the individual should be able to perform at a decent level.

Some individuals are unable to delegate authority. They believe that if they do the job themselves, it will be done right, and if someone else does it, it will not be done properly. There is no question that a good, well-trained supervisor/manager will be able to do the job better than the untrained acting supervisor/manager. However, at some point the supervisor/manager must have the time to make other kinds of decisions. The supervisor/manager must be able to leave the operation, and have time to sit down and reflect on problems which are occurring. This means that the individual who cannot delegate authority will not only have to work constantly, but will probably be carrying a briefcase home every single evening in order to keep up with the work of the program. A good supervisor/manager is not constantly answering phone calls while emailing responses to other people. The individual who does one thing at a time accomplishes a lot more than the so-called hyper-busy person. A good supervisor/manager will delegate part of the responsibility to other workers who show they have the ability to move into higher level positions. There is a limit as to how much authority can be delegated. Obviously, when a legal question is involved, an individual cannot delegate authority which, under law, he/she is expected to carry out. However, the individual can delegate the initial surveys, inspections, preliminary work, preliminary studies, and initial setting up of reports and techniques. All this work can be handled by others and presented in an acceptable manner to the supervisor/manager. The Management and Supervisory Practices for Environmental Professionals Volume 2 material will address preparing and presenting reports.

The development of an individual to become acting supervisor/manager is carried out by setting up a training program similar to the one you are involved in now. This training gives the individual tools and techniques necessary to carry out the many-faceted roles of the supervisor/manager.

VII  Public Relations

Training should be offered for carrying out good public relations. Often it is public relations which gets individuals to pay attention to you and your work. Good public relations can create good employer–employee relationships when a new person begins on the job. Public relations can make individuals in your community and within your institution or company aware of you and the institution or company and can help to create positive attitudes about both. Good public relations are meaningless if what follows is poor.

An institution or company may establish good public relations through magazine and newspaper ads, radio interviews and commercials, Facebook and Twitter pages, and other electronic plat. An organization’s best means of public relations is to have a good product or service which is always consistent and pleases the public. The supervisor/manager does not normally use mass media to create a good public image. His/her job is to put out a good product or service which is always reliable and consistent in quality.

Although the physical conditions of the job may change, the hours and the salary may also change. If the supervisor/manager maintains a good image and a good level of performance, the employees will find that the supervisor/manager is a very stable and important part of their lives. All employees at one time or another gripe about the person in charge. When employees gripe about the person in charge but still have respect for him/her, the supervisor/manager has achieved a good public relations image.

In order to keep employees informed and to build the necessary rapport among employees, supervisors, and managers, many organizations sponsor some after-hour social contacts, such as athletic leagues or dinners. The reason for these contacts is not only to have fun but also to show the individuals that the supervisory and administrative personnel are accessible, they are human, and most certainly they are a part of the overall group.

It is essential to keep employees informed of what is pertinent in institution or company policy. Employees have a grapevine which will furnish them considerable information. It is necessary that the information be offered in an accurate and simple manner so that the employees understand what is occurring and not what the rumor mill has created. Part of keeping the employees informed is to post notices, include notices with their paychecks, and to have the supervisor/manager hold periodic meetings with the employees to bring them up to date. Developing an interesting, brief, and informative institution or company newspaper will help employees understand the accomplishments of the organization and give them pride in what they are doing. It is be a good form of personal relations.

The use of electronic media to provide employees with current information on a periodic basis can be a good tool for public relations. However, this does not remove the necessity for face-to-face contact with employees in order for all of them to get the same message and to be able to ask questions of the supervisor or manager.

A very excellent approach is to have an employee lunch or dinner each year. At this event, employees who have performed extraordinarily during the year should be given recognition by both the organization management and supervisors/managers. They should be given special awards, monetary awards, and the opportunity to enjoy not only the event but also each other and the management personal. The cost of luncheons or dinners is negligible compared to the amount of rapport which is built as a result of the celebration.

Proper employee training, which will be discussed in another lesson, is another effective means of developing good public relations between the individual and the institution or company. This training gives the individual, from the time he/she starts work, an opportunity to know what the institution or company does, what his/her job is, and how the employee fits into the total picture. Each individual must have some feeling that the work he/she is doing is important. Otherwise, the employee will develop poor attitudes and poor morale, which, in turn, will reduce his/her effectiveness within the organization.

When the employees or supervisors/managers come in contact with the public, there are several rules which should be followed to create a good public image for the organization. They are as follows:

  1. The employee should show an interest in the consumer’s problem.
  2. The employee should know what he/she is talking about and be able to give a good and informative answer to the consumer.
  3. If the employee does not have an answer, the consumer should be informed in a nice manner and be referred to the proper department.
  4. The employee’s courteous and friendly manner of speech is essential.
  5. The employee must always be polite.
  6. The employee’s appearance should be acceptable to the public and represent the institution or the company in a polite manner.

VIII  Policy into Action

The institution or company policy is a broad set of rules and guides used to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization. The policy offers a guide for supervisors as well as for managers to follow. Many policies give a supervisor/manager the chance to use his or her own best judgment. Other policies are fixed and firm, and must be followed precisely. The policy is generally set by high-level managers or administrators and covers everything from the legal holidays which the organization will follow, to the method of purchasing materials, techniques for hiring and firing personnel, and the legal aspects of the organization. The supervisor/manager is most often involved in employee policies which include wages and salaries, holidays, vacations, leaves of absence, termination of employment, insurance, hospitalization, and retirement. The supervisor/manager will also be concerned with policies related to requisitioning of supplies, record keeping, maintenance and repair of equipment, and security and safety.

Not all policies are in writing. This may be either good or bad depending on the type and the policy and the situation involved. Sometimes, a policy is so rigid that there is no room for innovation or necessary change. This type of policy, unless it is an absolute requirement of the organization, would be better as an oral policy.

Policies are positive as well as negative. They reflect the understanding, concern, and feelings of the organization. Policies of the organization should provide a channel of open communication of ideas and information upward, downward, and sideways. Policies in an organization should encourage individuals to improve themselves.

The supervisor/manager does not change the existing policy, but rather interprets it. Where a policy does not exist the supervisor/manager may even set policy at his/her particular level. One of the frustrations of management is that policy is set and handed down, and by the time it reaches the lower level supervisory groups, the policy has been altered by intermediate management and supervisor/managers to suit themselves. This is a situation where management is losing effective control of the organization. On the other hand, if the policy went down as set forth by management and there was no opportunity for some flexibility to enforce the policy, the situation would be just as bad.

All policies should be included in a work or employee manual. This manual should spell out very clearly what the institution or company expects of you and what you can expect from them. It should state in precise language such things as vacations, days off, sick leave, and other types of situations. It should also state in precise language the route to follow for grievances, complaints, and the steps in disciplinary action. It should describe how to advance yourself and the rewards that you will receive for advancement.

IX  How to Give Instructions

When you give instructions or orders, be specific about what the employee should do and what you will expect. Make sure that you select the proper person to carry out the instructions.

Be confident and calm but avoid being cocky or offensive as you give orders. Make sure that the orders can be followed and that you are not asking for the impossible. Always check to see that the order has been carried out. Repeat your instructions slowly and clearly to make sure they are understood. Ask the employee if he/she has any questions.

It is important to request or ask that someone do something rather than say they must do it. For instance, “Joan, will you please bring me the memorandums from Mr. Holmes?” is certainly better than saying “Joan, bring me Mr. Holmes’ memorandums immediately.” You will receive the memos just as quickly by using the first technique and at the same time you will find that you have a more satisfied employee. There are situations where you must issue orders or commands. This is done where a hazard is apparent and the individual must make an immediate correction.

Because the employee misses an order or does not carry out an order properly does not mean that you have done a poor job. It might be that the employee is not paying attention, is not alert, or does not care to do the job. In situations such as this it is important to sit down with the employee to find out what the problems are. These problems may be work-related, home-related, financial, or simply due to the fact that the individual does not want to work. After you have talked to the employee about the problem and listened carefully, you may be able to correct the situation. Later on in this course and in Volume 2 there will be specific lessons in the proper handling of employee problems and the correct disciplinary action to take. If the employee willfully refuses to carry out an order, then you must determine if this circumstance is truly insubordination. If the order was an unfair one, if you chose the wrong person to carry out the order, if the employee really misunderstood you, or if there were other problems that preoccupied the employee and prevented him/her from carrying out your instructions, then this should not be considered insubordination. If it is simply a situation where the employee does what he/she wants to do when he/she wants to do it, then suggestions and discussions will be offered for these kinds of situations later on during the course.

Certain orders should be put in writing, while others should be given orally. It is wise when giving orders to make a mental note of them and then later to record them. During the instruction-giving period, your tone of voice, manner of presentation, and the way in which you handle yourself and the individuals you deal with are important concerns. Different groups are given instructions in different manners.

X  Getting Cooperation

Some people cooperate willingly all the time, others cooperate grudgingly, and some just will not cooperate with their supervisor/managers. Part of cooperation is the establishment of good attitudes. Most individuals work and perform best when they can realize a sense of accomplishment. Everyone obviously wants to earn the best salary. However, salary is only one of the motivating factors. Employees work to satisfy their physical needs, social needs, and the need to feel important.

The best way to win the cooperation of the employees is to look at the good and bad qualities you have seen in yourself, and make it a point to be sensitive to the individuals’ good and bad qualities. Stop talking and listen. See what people really feel and don’t put words in their mouths. Sometimes, it is necessary to be extremely firm in order to get a job done. However, firmness does not mean nastiness. You can gain your workers’ respect and support if you are firm and consistent. You can cause problems by inconsistency and nastiness. The supervisor/manager should use firmness and at the same time seek the cooperation of the individuals working for him/her in order to get the necessary job done in the allotted amount of time. The individuals should understand the goals of the organization and how important it is for them to participate in achieving the goals. You can urge employees to do their job best by inspiring them—not berating them. A good athletic coach does not beat his players over the head. He shows them their mistakes, helps them plan how to best correct mistakes, urges them on, and supports their efforts. A good athletic coach is a good supervisor/manager and a good teacher. All supervisors/managers should strive to attain these qualities.

When employees resist recommendations and orders or certain program elements, it is important to spot the complaints, which may simply be healthy gripes or serious objections which should be evaluated, and, if necessary, the situation should be changed. Remember that the objections may not be realistic ones—in fact, a good group of workers may have one negative individual who is bringing undue pressure on the entire group. In all situations, you must have an objective look at what is happening and determine whether it is you, the work, the rules, the entire group, or one individual that is causing the problem. You should not automatically assume that the group is poor, and you must not automatically assume that you are a poor supervisor/manager.

Techniques used for removing resistance include

  1. Try using an example of a successful individual.
  2. Make a guarantee that the work will improve if the individuals work harder.
  3. Give a demonstration showing the individuals how best to carry out the project.
  4. Ask questions. Ask the persons what they feel is hardest about the job and why they cannot do it properly.
  5. Listen to them. If someone is angry, upset, or irritable, find out why this is occurring. Be friendly and try to persuade the individual to make necessary changes. You should say what you think about a situation, but be careful how you word it. Employees are least likely to cooperate with you when they are afraid, when abrupt changes in their environment or work schedule occur, when there is a change in materials, methods, or supervision and management, and when there is fear of ridicule and embarrassment, or fear of a layoff.

XI  Getting Useful Ideas from Employees

Creative thinking does not belong only to first-line supervisors and management alone. It may well come from the individuals who are carrying out the variety of tasks which are necessary to meet the goals of the organization. Creative thinking is not accomplished by sitting down at some meeting with someone saying “Let us now be creative.” It is true that you can have a “think tank” type of meeting where individuals will say whatever comes into their minds. This, in turn, may trigger other ideas which will be useful. However, the employees who actually perform the service or work with the equipment and perform day-to-day tasks may see what is wrong, how the work can be improved, and how it can be expedited. These contributions and suggestions should be encouraged, and when the individual has made a substantial contribution to the institution or company—either through improved production, safety, public relations, or any other meaningful area—he/she should be rewarded. Employees should understand that things can be changed and that their ideas may bring about worthwhile improvements.

 

The fundamentals of creative thinking are to

  • Narrow down the problem. Do not simply talk about something in a vague manner. Specifically pinpoint what the actual problems are.
  • Learn to concentrate. If you are attempting to be creative, you cannot be effective with excessive noise and distractions around you.
  • Be persistent. Do you have a good idea? Do not let it die. Sometimes, the good idea cannot be sold in the first day, the first week, the first month, or even the first year. If an idea is good enough to think about, it is good enough to work to try to implement it.
  • Believe in yourself. You must have self-confidence about what you are doing. When the situation gets tough, you must believe that you are doing something which is correct. On the other hand, do not let self-confidence become cockiness.
  • Let your unconscious do part of the work. When you get tired, the best thing to do is to stop. When you go away from the situation, you are not thinking directly about a given idea, thought, or task, but your mind is still digesting, sorting, and helping you work out the necessary solutions.
  • Keep presenting ideas. If one does not work, another one may.
  • Take some action by writing down an idea, presenting the idea with substantiating evidence in a report or memorandum and turn it over to your supervisors or managers for valuation. But make sure that you have some way of backing up what you are saying.

Use the following techniques to help you get better ideas:

  1. Choose the right time of day to concentrate on ideas. Some people think more clearly in the early morning and others in the afternoon or late at night. Find out what kind of person you are.
  2. Build up your sources of ideas. This can be done by talking to other people, reading professional or trade journals, and by looking at a variety of sources of information.
  3. Do not be afraid to work alone. Your idea may not be the same as the rest of the group. However, you may be able to develop something which will be valuable and worthwhile to the organization.
  4. Practice how to think several minutes each day. Sit down, concentrate on a given subject, and let your mind wander around in a particular area. See if something pops up. Maybe, you will think of better ways to organize incoming work.
  5. Do not worry about the number of ideas which will be useless. Unless you concentrate and learn how to think, you will never come up with the good ideas.
  6. Do not worry about the opinion of others. People who do not want to change may laugh at you, taunt you, irritate you, or just ignore you, but that is all right. If your idea is good, it is worth working toward.
  7. Look for the situation where you can best utilize a new thought.
  8. Learn to identify your own mistakes, because by correcting your own mistakes you are in effect developing a new way or a new idea about doing things.

When you attempt to sell your own idea, you may get several reactions. One reaction may be, “No, it won’t work.” You might get a “sour grapes” attitude because the other individual did not think of it first. Perhaps you may get “Congratulations! That is a great idea. You are going to make a fine contribution to our organization.”

A supervisor/manager can encourage or discourage the formation of a useful idea. It can be encouraged with a smile and a welcome approach. It can be discouraged by saying it is ridiculous, costs too much, too radical, not practical, or by saying it is fine the way it is now.

XII  Getting along with Your Supervisor/Manager

 

Does getting along with your supervisor/manager mean saying what the boss wants to hear? Of course not. Too often we think that a supervisor/manager who is getting along well is not doing his/her job properly but instead is trying to snuggle up to his or her supervisor/manager. This is not true. The supervisor/manager who has skill in human relations with employees should exercise the same skill in human relations with his/her supervisor/manager.

If you are a “yes-person,” you may be pleasing your supervisor/manager, but you will not be able to advance because the supervisor/manager is not looking for the “yes-person,” but rather for the individual who is attempting to make the institution or company a real success.

You should only involve the middle manager or the upperlevel manager with the big problems. You should handle the routine problems yourself. This sometimes creates difficulty, as it is not always clear as to what is routine or procedural and what is big. This is a place where no one can give you a definitive answer. The very best sources of information on how to handle specific situations are fellow supervisors with greater experience than you have. You can also ask for assistance from your professional association and try to determine where you can obtain information on Best Practices and handling specific types of routine problems from supervisors/managers working in communities similar to yours. If all else fails or is insufficient to meet your needs, then ask for additional assistance from your supervisors to help you sort out that which is routine and that which should be presented to them for deliberation and discussion.

If a manager is too busy to see you all of the time, then he/she either is overworked, not properly organized, or has considerable faith in what you are doing. The best situation is where the manager will see you when you feel that the problem is serious enough to be brought to his/her attention. If you find that despite everything you do, the manager will refuse to see you, will ridicule you, laugh behind your back, or attempt to tear you down as a supervisor/manager, then it is time for you to consider changing to a new position or to recognize the situation as it stands, accept it, and go on with your own work.

Your middle manager or administrator should not only give you some understanding of how you are doing, what you are doing, and how effective you are, but also should, from time to time, simply chat with you about the problems of your department. The middle manager and administrator should be interested in you and your family just as you are interested in your employees and their families. In fact, all human relations techniques that you utilize with your employees should be utilized with you by your middle manager and administrator.

You, the supervisor/manger, will be presenting new ideas to your middle manager and the administration. Following are certain techniques that should be used to effectively sell them on your new ideas.

  1. State precisely what the idea is in simplest possible terms.
  2. State the value of your idea to the organization.
  3. Show the advantages and disadvantages of the idea.
  4. Show how your idea fits into the overall operation.
  5. Choose the right time and place to make the pitch.
  6. Add your idea to some current program.
  7. Suggest a trial run.
  8. Have alternatives ready to discuss in case more information is needed.
  9. Make your presentation in capsule form.
  10. Be prepared` to present other supporting information.

XIII  Summary

The “Fundamental Management Information” section discussed the function, responsibility, need for communication, and multiple roles of supervisors/managers and higher level managers.

This lesson has attempted to present some of the techniques of successful supervision and management. It has discussed supervisory problems, the use of time, education, how to make proper decisions, how to delegate authority, public relations, how to turn management policy into products and services, how to give instructions, get cooperation from employees, and get ideas from employees, and how to get along with your middle manager or administrator. This “Lesson Discussion” section, as in previous ones, is meant to be a building block on which each of the important areas of supervision and management can be placed in a proper sequence. By the time the two courses, Volumes 1 and 2, are completed, each of the “Fundamental Management Information” section and the “Lesson Discussion” section should fit meaningfully into a total picture.

Lesson 3 Case Problem 1

Successful Supervisor/Manager

Bill Amish had been a district supervisor/manager in the Walton County Health Department for ten years. He supervised 17 professional employees. In the last few years, he felt discouraged, and his level of initiative had dropped substantially. He no longer obtained all of the necessary data before he made programmatic decisions. Three of his employees had become his buddies and therefore received the choice assignments and were not held to the same standards as the rest of the staff. Bill was very critical in public concerning the work of four females on the staff. He felt that they were inadequate although they had the same training and education as the male members of the staff. They had children and therefore did not have the time to attend outside activities in the same manner as many of the male employees. One day, after he had received a call of complaint concerning Andrea White, he immediately started to scream at her in front of the other staff members. He accused her of being lazy and not dealing with the public in an appropriate manner.

  1. What qualities of supervision and management has Bill violated?
  2. Did he use good judgment in singling out certain individuals for special attention?
  3. Was he being fair in how he dealt with Andrea White?
  4. What would have been a better approach to dealing with Andrea White?
  5. What should he have based his decision on concerning quality and quantity of work?

Answer Sheet

LESSON 3 CASE PROBLEM 1

Successful Supervisor/Manager

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If you need additional paper, insert it into the book so it will be your resource guide for the future.

Lesson 3 Case Problem 2

Making Proper Decisions

Jeff Broan was asked by his administrator, Sarah Fleet, to involve his staff in determining how to deal with an extended environmental emergency while maintaining crucial aspects of existing programs. Hurricanes in the past had disrupted the area and future ones were a certainty. Jeff asked Joan Cummings, one of his supervisor/managers, to discuss the problem with the staff and present a plan of action to him within a week. Joan set up three groups of five staff members each and instructed them to develop a plan in three days and report back to her. Four weeks later, Sarah Fleet asked Jeff if his report was ready. Jeff asked Joan, and Joan angrily demanded from the group leaders their report at once.

  1. What did Jeff do wrong in making his assignment to Joan?
  2. What did Joan do wrong in making her assignment to three group leaders?
  3. Did Joan have a right to be angry with the group leaders?
  4. How would you have utilized creative thinking to obtain the necessary ideas to deal with an extended emergency?
  5. Once you had the employees’ ideas, what would you have done to arrive at the proper decision-making process?
  6. What kind of a plan would you have developed related to maintenance of normal programs while servicing emergencies?

Answer Sheet

LESSON 3 CASE PROBLEM 2

Making Proper Decisions

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If you need additional paper, insert it into the book so it will be your resource guide for the future.

Practical Exercises

You may do any two or more of these items.

  1. For a one-week period, carefully evaluate the amount of time you spend in each activity, how you establish your priorities, how you use your time, how you schedule your work, and how you delegate your responsibilities. This can be accomplished by writing down very briefly a response to each of these questions and then reading your responses at the end of the week.
  2. Set up a chart by day and week for a one-month period. On the chart list the day and date, and the time period, which are broken down by 15-minute periods. The day and date should be at the top of the chart with the time periods running from top to bottom (8 AM–5 PM or whatever is applicable). The first 15 minutes of the day, plan what you are going to do during the rest of the day. Then, set down tasks for each time period during that one-week period. Mention such things as reviewing the email of the day and anything of significance from previous days, as well as any other type of mail, handling phone calls, and giving employees instructions. At the end of the week, determine where your time has actually gone.
  3. Using the previous information, set up a schedule of things you would like to do during the coming week. Write down the items and the amount of time that you would like to allocate to the items. Then, as in #2, write down the actual time spent carrying out your work. Determine what should be done to use your time more efficiently by working with the priorities which you have established.
  4. Allocate your time by priorities during the course of the day. Try to stick to the schedule as much as possible. Where you find there are great difficulties in doing this, it may be necessary either to find a better way of delegating authority or you may have to change your priorities at the end of each day to take care of those situations which are unexpected and require either more time than you originally allocated or you had not thought about them.
  5. As a supervisor/manager, it is necessary to learn as much as possible. Therefore, develop a training program for yourself which is realistic. There are several suggestions in the “Lesson Discussion” section on types of programs that you might want to follow. Remember, when your program is too rigid, you will not want to follow it. When it is interesting and only takes a limited amount of time, you will achieve greater success. This is very similar to the individual who decides that he/she needs to exercise, runs five miles the first day, and then is totally exhausted afterward.
  6. In order to make proper decisions, set down the major steps which are needed in decision making. The next time you make a decision follow these steps in a chronological manner and evaluate the results and see if your decision-making process is starting to improve.
  7. Determine who in your group can act as a supervisor/manager. Then, delegate authority to this individual. Evaluate the person’s performance, always keeping in mind that this person may not do as good a job as you would but still will get the work done in a satisfactory manner. Should the individual not fit the role well, then delegate the authority to someone else.
  8. Determine how your company goes about handling public relations. Determine what you do as a supervisor/manager to be part of this public relations program.
  9. Evaluate employees who have to deal with the public by utilizing the list of six items mentioned in the “Lesson Discussion” section. After you have completed your evaluation, discuss it with the employee in private. When he/she has done a very good job he/she should be commended. When he/she has done a poor job, try to strengthen weaknesses. When the public relations phase of the employee’s work is mixed or average, commend the good portions, while offering suggestions to strengthen the areas where he/she is weak.
  10. Determine whether or not you understand thoroughly your company’s policies. Also, by questioning the employees, determine whether or not they understand company policy.
  11. Give a set of instructions to your employees, and then evaluate whether or not they understand the instructions by asking them, to repeat them to you and to show you how the work should be carried out. This should help you determine whether or not the instructions you give are clear and concise, and given in a confident manner.
  12. After you have given the previous instructions, determine whether or not you are meeting resistance. If you are, then use the techniques mentioned in the “Lesson Discussion” section on how to get cooperation from employees.
  13. Develop the concept of creative thinking among your employees. Do this by asking help and assistance from them. Use the techniques specified in the “Lesson Discussion” section, and determine whether or not they are applicable to your situation. Recognize that obtaining good ideas from employees is part of being a good supervisor/manager. Therefore, if you’re not getting any ideas from your employees, then you need to consider changing your approach to them in this particular area. If the ideas start to increase and improve, then your job as a supervisor/manager is getting better and stronger and you yourself are improving.
  14. Evaluate whether or not you will sell your new ideas to the administrators. If you are not being too successful, apply the principles listed in the “Lesson Discussion” section.

Lesson 3 Practical Exercises Answer Sheet

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If you need additional paper to complete the exercises, insert it into the book so it will be your study guide for the future.

Self-Testing Examination #3

True-False Questions (Correct Answers Appear on Page 78)

1. A good supervisor/manager is a planner, source of technical knowledge, and mediator.

1.____

2. The supervisor/manager’s major function is to transmit orders to subordinates.

2.____

3.Being a good listener is one of the most important roles of the supervisor/manager.

3.____

4. Supervisor/managers should transfer individuals, although they are doing a good job, to show who is in charge.

4.____

5. The supervisor/manager’s perks include coming and going as he or she desires.

5.____

6. The supervisor/manager’s different roles may cause a conflict.

6.____

7. Supervision and management include selecting, interesting, teaching, and measuring people but does not include rating, commending, rewarding, or harmonizing.

7.____

8. A good supervisor/manager controls and channels emotions rather than react.

8.____

9. Unfortunately, new employees are taught how to assume time-killing routines.

9.____

10. Time is one of the key factors in a supervisor/manager’s success.

10.____

11. A means of managing time is to take a period of one hour each morning and determine what work should be done for the rest of the day.

11.____

12. When you delegate authority to someone you can expect them to do as good a job as you would have done.

12.____

13. When delegating authority, you must accept the decisions and actions of individuals to whom you have delegated authority.

13.____

14. When delegating authority, it is important to understand the capabilities of the person to whom you delegate the authority.

14.____

15. If your employee has a good personality, you can assume that he/she can carry out good public relations.

15.____

16. It is important to keep individuals informed of company policy in order to keep the information “on the grapevine” reasonably correct.

16.____

17. It is essential to always check to see that an order is understood and that it is carried out. The individual who is receiving the order should be able to understand it the first time if he/she is competent.

17.____

18. Employees always cooperate with their supervisor/managers, even if they have to grudgingly.

18.____

19. The best way to get an employee to cooperate is to look at your own good and bad qualities and thereby be sensitive to others’ good and bad qualities.

19.____

20. Creative thinking is a function of management or supervision and management only.

20.____

21. Creative thinking is accomplished by sitting down, having meetings, and determining that this is the time to be creative.

21.____

22. By being a “yes man,” you are pleasing to your boss and you obviously will be able to advance to a higher position.

22.____

Case Problem 1 Answers

Successful Supervisor/Manager

  1. He made programmatic decisions without reviewing all necessary data. He made snap judgments based solely on his feelings. He became very friendly with three workers and gave them special treatment, which caused resentment among the other people. He was in fact sexually harassing the female employees, causing resentment, anger, and the possibility of a lawsuit. He harshly criticized an employee in front of other employees instead of discussing it with her in private.
  2. NO! The other employees will become apathetic, angry, and resentful, and the quality and quantity of work will decrease.
  3. NO! A supervisor/manager should never berate an employee. He should have investigated the incident and then tried to correct it in an effective and private manner. He humiliated her in front of her colleagues.
  4. He should have called or spoken to other employees who might have information about the incident. He should have checked on the validity of the person making the complaint. He should have quietly asked Andrea to meet with him in the conference room, where he could sit across from her. At this time, he should have told her about the complaint and asked her to tell her version. Then, he should have made a decision in her favor or against her. If against, she should have been reprimanded in a professional manner following departmental policy.
  5. He should have had measurable objectives based on the job descriptions and program plans. The individuals should have been trained to perform the work properly. The evaluation should have been based on the objectives related to quality and quantity of work performed.

Case Problem 2 Answers

Making Proper Decisions

  1. Instead of Jeff Broan directing the emergency project and writing the report, he delegated this authority to Joan Cummings. He did not give her guidance and did not ask for the report in a specific timeframe.
  2. Joan Cummings, in turn, delegated to others without proper guidance and a timeframe. She was bound to get three different plans, if the assignment was carried out at all.
  3. No. She did not have any right to be angry at them because she did not do her part as a leader. She should have set a due date for the reports to be in. If late, she should have investigated the reason for the delay. Above all, she was assuming that the individuals had the ability to carry out the assignment.
  4. The group can create an emergency plan if they work together and share information. The group approach helps create ideas and suggestions which may stimulate others to think in a creative manner.
  5. Evaluate all proposals and select the one which is best and most economically feasible. If all proposals contained some weak areas, select the strong points from each proposal and rewrite the plan.
  6. Select supervisor/managers who have had knowledge and experience in working with emergencies related to hurricanes. Brainstorm the problem to establish the necessary services and timetable to be used for emergency implementation. Divide the services among the supervisor/managers according to their areas of expertise. Ask them to develop procedures, prepare a supply list, and name employees for their assigned areas, and then report back in one week. These supervisor/managers would be in charge of these services in the event of a real hurricane. During the week, prepare an emergency plan to staff existing programs with a minimal amount of people while freeing the remainder of the employees to assist in the disaster.

Answers to Lesson 3 Self-Testing Examination

If your answer is incorrect, go back and determine why your answer is incorrect.

  1. T
  2. F
  3. T
  4. F
  5. F
  6. T
  7. F
  8. T
  9. T
  10. T
  11. F
  12. F
  13. T
  14. T
  15. F
  16. T
  17. F
  18. F
  19. T
  20. F
  21. F
  22. F

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