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In most organizations, the role of supervisor represents the first step on the managerial ladder. No longer responsible just for their own work, supervisors are required to ensure that a group of people meet the objectives that have been agreed for them. The role involves agreeing on targets, setting deadlines, motivating and supporting staff. As part of this, a supervisor has a responsibility to ensure that each member of staff has the required skills and knowledge to do the job.
A supervisor is responsible for ensuring that an employee receives standard workplace training. This includes health and safety training, such as what to do in the case of fire, lifting heavy objects and reporting health and safety concerns. In certain work environments, such as laboratories or manufacturing plants, the health and safety training is more comprehensive. In some office-based environments, workplace training may cover issues such as house writing style and other processes. It is the supervisor's responsibility to ensure that employees are familiar with these processes, but the training itself may be delivered in the form of a manual or online course.
In most sectors, supervisors are promoted to a managerial position having first worked at a more junior level in the same area. Typically, they are promoted because they have a superior level of technical knowledge and skills. As supervisors, they are expected to pass on the fruits of their experience through day-to-day management and coaching. In particular, they will take responsibility for on-the-job training for new recruits.
Supervisors should be aware of when team-members have training needs that cannot be met by coaching or existing internal training courses. These needs may be because of a specific area of weakness, such as presentation skills or writing. Or it could be that the supervisor has identified potential for development, possibly in an area outside the team's scope. The supervisor may not have a budget for external training but should recommend employees for external training when appropriate.
Although it does not count as formal training, a supervisor has a responsibility to model the company's desired behaviors and values. On a day-to-day basis, she should be setting the example of how to speak to people, how to approach problems and how to work with others.
Lalla Scotter has been writing professionally since 1988, covering topics ranging from leadership to agriculture. Her work has appeared in publications such as the "Financial Times" and "Oxford Today." Scotter holds an honors Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Bristol.
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