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What are the Different Supervisor Duties?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Supervisor duties can show exceptional range depending upon the type of business or industry in which a person is employed. They may also be different from job to job, as each business could define a variety of supervisor elements they find important. Yet most supervisor jobs will include work with employees and work for upper level management. This can help define responsibilities, which might include employee supervision, training, scheduling, and motivation, and carrying out or attempting to meet manager goals for a particular work area.

Certainly, supervisor duties will include much employee interaction, and the supervisor typically has the most direct contact with the employees. Supervision or overseeing the employees has to be part of the job, since it helps to assure that employee level work is meeting management goals on what needs to get done. Part of this will be making sure that people receive the training they need to do their jobs capably.

The smart supervisor delegates some of his or her work, and training could be part of this. In many different industrial environments, the supervisor may not have technical knowhow, and the assignment of training could go to other employees or to a strong technical group, like engineers, instead. Where the supervisor has risen from the ranks of employees, he or she might choose to train employees instead, and in either case, he/she is likely to train employees on basic things such as work ethics and work responsibility. Ideally, training should never stop, and though less intensive, providing a continuing work/learning environment may be useful.

This also leads to the idea of motivating workers. Some supervisor duties could include offering incentives or kick-starting special projects. Motivation doesn’t just come from the chance possibility of a reward, though, and should also be reflected in the way employees get treated by their supervisors. Typically motivation is highest when workers feel valued and appreciated and when they note their supervisors work as hard as they do.

One of the supervisor duties that may serve employee and management is scheduling. Many people will determine when and how much each worker will work each week. This could be flexible, as it is in many retail environments, or it might stay relatively static.

In serving management, the supervisor duties can be much more extensive. Supervisors could also be responsible for disciplining employees that break the rules, they might need to implement new rules, and they occasionally act as go between if an employee wants to approach management. Some supervisors also hire and fire employees, and they could have other jobs such as managing payroll.

Those interested in a career in supervision may find many paths to this work. Lots of people do get hired directly from a lower employee pool to be supervisors in many different work settings. Others are hired directly to supervisory roles. Having strong people skills, being precise in work, demonstrating responsibility, and being able to please people are all valuable to this form of work.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Practical Adult Insights contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By GreenWeaver — On Sep 18, 2010

Latte31-I had a friend that was worked in a hotel as a front desk supervisor.

His front desk supervisor duties include scheduling the front desk staff for appropriate levels and dealing with any problems that a guest may have regarding the service.

It is his or her job to rectify the problem and make things right with the guest. They are usually situated at the front desk and often perform many of the same tasks as their employees.

They also have to ensure that their employees remain focused on the customer and adhere to polished and professional telephone etiquette.

The front desk supervisor also tries to provide up sell opportunities for its clientele and maintains the billing records.

By latte31 — On Sep 18, 2010

An office supervisor duty involves ordering supplies, scheduling the office staff and making sure all aspects of the office run smoothly.

This job also includes training newly hired staff and providing coaching when deemed appropriate. A nursing supervisor duty also includes scheduling of the nursing staff and allocating the appropriate patient load.

The nursing supervisor has to inspect the work of the nurses to ensure that adequate care was provided. The nursing supervisor may assist a nurse with a difficult or unruly patient. A nursing supervisor salary could be quite high as some salaries may reach six figures.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Practical Adult Insights contributor...
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