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The Disadvantages of Being a Supervisor

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If you've just been promoted to supervisor, you may think you've got it made. A higher salary, more job perks and additional authority have you relishing the role. But it's not always such a rosy picture -- being a supervisor has its disadvantages, as well. You need to be prepared for them to deal with the challenges ahead -- both to keep your supervisory position and to thrive in it.

More Work

Supervisors often have more -- not less -- work to do than their subordinates. At times, they are expected to do both the jobs of an ordinary employee, as well as an administrative officer. This can leave them stressed and frazzled, especially when priorities from each of these different roles competes. As a supervisor, you may find yourself working nights, weekends and even forgoing vacations just to keep your head above water.

More Accountability

Supervisors often have a higher level of accountability than other types of workers. While subordinates may be able to hide poor performance behind teammates -- or even blame supervisors -- the supervisors themselves don't have it so easy. The buck often stops at their desks, and they can be held accountable for not only their own job performance, but the performance for everyone working under them, as well.

Different Skills

Unfortunately, just because you were an outstanding employee doesn't mean that you know how to be a manager. Often, employees are promoted to supervisor because they performed well in their jobs; but being a supervisor requires an entirely different set of job skills. You may need to know how to balance budgets and accounts -- if you don't already -- motivate individuals, anticipate company-wide problems and similar items. If you don't already have experience in these areas, you may find you hit a steep learning curve when you make supervisor.

Caught in Between

As a supervisor, you will often find yourself caught in between the needs of subordinates and your own superiors. Subordinates may complain to you about an overload of work, lack of staff or insufficient salaries and benefits. Superiors are often constantly on your back about the bottom line, cutting costs and increasing efficiency.

Dreaded Chores

Finally, as a manager you may find yourself having to do dreaded tasks, such as disciplining or firing employees. Although some supervisors enjoy exercising their power in this way, many hate having to let people go or criticize them. Keep careful documentation over any employee disputes, in case you need to justify your actions later.

  • You've Just Been Made the Supervisor -- Now What?; Meredith L. Onion, et al.; 2003

A professional writer for LexisNexis since 2008, Ilana Waters has created pages for websites such as and A writing scholarship helped her graduate summa cum laude from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Social Work. She then obtained her Master of Social Work from Monmouth University.

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