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What does an Administrative Supervisor do?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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An administrative supervisor is responsible for managing employees, ensuring compliance with company policies, resolving issues and facilitating communication between senior managers and administrative employees. This position is found in large organizations, usually within the administrative services department. In a smaller business, the tasks usually performed in this role are completed by the business manager.

The primary responsibility of someone in this position is related to the management of other employees in administration services. Human relations responsibilities can include recruitment, hiring, discipline, performance evaluation and termination. All these tasks normally are completed with the support and advice of the human resources department, but it is the responsibility of the administrative supervisor.

The administrative supervisor must ensure that all business procedures used to complete operational responsibilities are followed by his or her direct reports. In some cases, he or she is involved in the creation and maintenance of an operations manual or other instruction guides. Spot checks and random follow-ups are great ways to confirm that all the procedures are being followed.

A supervisor is expected to resolve problems between employees as well as complaints from clients. This process includes collecting information from all of the involved parties, reviewing the evidence and making a decision that will resolve the problem. Familiarity with company policies and a firm understanding of a client's needs are central to performing this aspect of the job well.

In most organizations, the administrative supervisor meets regularly with the operations or administrative manager. During these meetings, the manager provides the supervisor with information about the strategic direction of the company, issues that have been identified at the higher levels and any other concerns. In turn, the supervisor updates the manager on issues or challenges at the lower level and provides input on possible solutions. Someone in administrative supervision shares relevant information with his or her team and to maintain confidentiality about possible decisions or changes in direction. Communication skills and discretion are absolutely essential for anyone in this position.

In order to qualify for a position as an administrative supervisor, post-secondary training in business administration usually is required. This education can be completed at almost any community or career college, because the program is widely available. Some candidates have a university degree. This level of education is not required, but it might be helpful when looking to move into a senior management position.

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Discussion Comments

By indemnifyme — On May 25, 2012

I have a friend that used to be an administrative supervisor. At her company, supervisor qualifications included both education and experience. Luckily, she had both so she qualified for the job.

From what she told me, you definitely deal with a lot of office politics when you work as an administrative supervisor. You're basically acting as a liaison between upper management and the administrative employees.

Also, a big part of the job is hiring and firing people, which can be very stressful. My friend really hating having to fire people, because she wasn't the one that made the decision, but she was the one who had to actually deal with letting the person know they were being let go.

By Azuza — On May 25, 2012

@Monika - Yeah, I can see why some training would be necessary to work in the capacity of administration supervisor. Most people aren't born knowing exactly how to manage other people!

Honestly, this job sounds really difficult. Not only do you have to deal with other supervisors, you also have to deal with administrative employees as well as clients. That is a lot of people to try to keep happy! I think you would definitely have to be a really organized people person to do this job effectively.

By Monika — On May 24, 2012

I used to work in a very small insurance agency, and we didn't have an administrative supervisor. Instead, the duties included in the administrative supervisor job description were performed by the agent in charge of the office.

I'm sad to say, this didn't work out very well. The agent didn't have any kind of post-secondary training in business. He was qualified to run the office based on having multiple insurance and financial licenses.

However, these licenses are granted based on knowledge, not supervisory skills. I think our office really could have benefited from having an administrative supervisor.

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