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Supervisor's Basic Responsibilities

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Supervisors are responsible for overseeing employees in the workplace. They essentially are charged with handling everything from interviewing and hiring to disciplining and firing. A supervisor also serves as an advocate for employees and helps them navigate daily issues regarding work responsibilities and colleague and customer relations.

Hiring and Training

A supervisor accepts job applications, reviews resumes, interviews candidates and hires the most appropriate people for the business. She also may provide an orientation to the company and pre-employment or on-the-job training. The supervisor regularly evaluates employee performance, makes recommendations for improvement and handles disciplinary action when necessary. She may conduct ongoing training or professional development programs to ensure employees are knowledgeable and up to speed on how the business operates.


Supervisors have to make sure that every shift is covered by knowledgeable, capable staffers. She might pair less-experienced workers with seasoned employees or juggle a schedule to ensure busy times of day are adequately staffed to manage high-volume business traffic. A supervisor assigns specific tasks and delegates responsibilities as necessary to qualified employees. In the event that a worker doesn't show up, a supervisor must make arrangements to cover the shift with a replacement or temp worker. She usually oversees work hours to ensure employees are compensated adequately for their time and arranges for time off when necessary.


A supervisor must be knowledgeable about all aspects of individual employee roles to ensure proper oversight. Oversight includes making sure work that is performed properly and in a timely manner and that an employee is observing all safety protocols. The supervisor is also responsible for quality assurance, observing employees as they interact with customers and go about their daily tasks to make sure that no steps are being missed and that they are meeting the company's quality standards.


Supervisors keep their staffs motivated and productive by providing positive feedback and encouragement and helping troubleshoot workplace issues when they arise. A supervisor might act as a mentor as employees learn new skills and develop their own abilities. Supervisors often establish incentive and reward programs and recognize employees for a job well done.

Conflict Resolution

Supervisors deal with conflict between colleagues and between employees and customers. If a dispute arises, the supervisor counsels the parties involved and uses the company's best practices to mediate an acceptable resolution. The supervisor is responsible for documenting disciplinary actions and often issues regular employee status reports to her manager or the business owner.


Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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