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What does a Shift Supervisor do?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Although the exact duties of a shift supervisor vary with each job, there are many tasks that are often the same. Maintaining work standards, leading other shift employees, and reporting any customer complaints to the store manager are common supervisory shift duties. Supervisors are front line workers who lead a small team while doing the same work as the other employees. They are only in charge during their shifts and must provide leadership by example.

Shift supervisors are usually chosen to lead other team members because they understand the expectations of higher management and how to meet or exceed these goals. They're not only responsible for getting the most from the other employees by inspiring and motivating them, but they must also maintain the smooth running of the store or business during their shifts. Supervisors also must work directly alongside employees to accomplish tasks.

These employees are expected to work well with those they supervise. They should be able to function well without a lot of supervision, yet also report important events or problems to the manager they work under. In many companies, supervisors write notes about the important events of each shift in a log book to later be reviewed by the store manager or several assistant managers.

Shift supervisors must maintain service and security standards during their shifts. Opening and closing the store may be part of their responsibility, and they must oversee their teams to make sure company policies are being met. If team members have questions about how to do something, it's up to the shift supervisor to offer information and coaching. He or she must always be promoting the actions and attitudes expected by company management by demonstrating his or her own appropriate behavior on the job.

Maintaining good working relationships with the other team members is something all shift supervisors need to do. This may be challenging if some of the employees feel jealous or resentful that they weren't chosen for the job. It can also be difficult when a new supervisor from outside the store is brought in, since it may take some time for a work team to mesh well together. The best supervisors can empathize with the other workers while also inspiring them to perform well on the job. The next promotion level may be assistant manager.

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Discussion Comments

By angelBraids — On Apr 14, 2011

I was offered the chance to step up into a similar position a while back, but I turned it down. This job role seems to be quite demanding, especially as you have to balance the needs of so many different people. I guess I prefer to be a follower, rather than a leader!

By Potterspop — On Apr 13, 2011

@Bhutan - UPS sound like a good company for people looking to get their first experience of managing people. Being able to add shift supervisor to your resume, even if it was only a temporary position, will put you ahead of the field.

My father was a power plant shift supervisor for a long time. He enjoyed the chance to organize and encourage others, yet not be part of 'management'.

By Bhutan — On Nov 09, 2010

In order to become a shift supervisor you really have to been with the company for a certain amount of time and proven yourself performance wise.

A shift supervisor in responsible for scheduling the right amount of staff and making sure the certain levels of productivity are followed.

Any problems pertaining to the shift that include people calling in sick, will require the shift supervisor to replace the employee that is not able to work in order to ensure that production levels continue.

Some companies offer shift supervisor jobs during peak production times. For example, UPS offers shift supervisor jobs during the Christmas holiday season.

Because of the sheer number of packages that need to be processed during that time, UPS offers additional seasonal opportunities for regular employees as well as production supervisor jobs. Sometimes if the supervisor performs well, UPS will extend a full time opportunity.

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