After reading this article you will learn about the role, functions and qualities of a supervisor.

Role of Supervisor:

The supervision function is performed by the first level managers known as supervisors, foremen, superintendents, section officers and so on. The supervisors are the only executives who control the performance of the subordinates at the execution level. A supervisor plays an important role in the enterprise. Some people consider him as a part of management, while others consider him only as a worker.

In fact, a supervisor is a manager. He is a link between the management and the workers. He is in direct touch with the workers and passes on their reactions to the management. His primary job is to manage the workers at the operative level.

He represents the management to the workers and the workers to the management. Efficient supervision secures better work performance, and creates an atmosphere of cooperation and goodwill among the workers.


A supervisor is responsible for planning the affairs of this section and issuing instructions to the workers working under him. He maintains discipline amongst the subordinates and motivates them for their maximum cooperation. He is responsible for getting performance from the workers. He keeps relations with the sub-ordinates and tries to solve their work problems.

Functions of a Supervisor:

A supervisor is a member of the management team of an enterprise. So he must perform managerial functions of planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling.

In particular, supervisor performs the following functions:

1. Planning and Organising:


Planning is essential for successful and efficient working of every section of department. Like manager at higher levels in the organisation, the supervisor is also responsible for planning the work of his section although his planning is greatly limited in scope by his authority.

2. Provision of Working Conditions:

Physical setting of the work, illumination, ventilation and sitting facility, all have direct effect upon the productivity and health of the workmen. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the supervisor provide hygienic and proper conditions of work to the workers.

3. Guidance and Leadership:


He leads the workers of his department. He fixes production targets for them and provides them the necessary guidance for doing the work assigned to them.

4. Motivation:

He motivates his subordinates by providing financial and non- financial incentives. He inspires them for higher quality and productivity.

5. Controlling:


Controlling is an important function of the supervisor. Supervisory control includes checking progress of work against the planned schedule, recording actual performance at regular intervals and reporting work completed along-with deviation, if any, to the manager concerned.

6. Linking Pin:

He serves as an important link between the management and the workers. He explains management policies to the workers and also passes on the management’s instructions. He has a close contact with the workers and tries to understand their problems. He brings workers’ problem to the notice of the top management.

7. Reporting:


The supervisor has to prepare various reports on the progress of the work assigned to him and also on the performance of the workers. The reports may be forwarded to the management on a weekly or monthly basis. Regular reporting by the supervisor is a useful tool utilised by the management in planning and controlling operations.

8. Grievance Handling:

He can handle the grievances of workers effectively. He should maintain good relations with the workers so that the workers come to him if they have any grievance. When a grievance is reported, he should try to remove it and satisfy the workers.

Qualities of a Good Supervisor:

Supervisor leads the workers.


He should possess the following qualities:

1. He should have leadership qualities. He should be able to influence the behaviour of his subordinates.

2. He should have the ability to give instructions and issue orders to the subordinates.

3. He should be honest and sincere.


4. He should be a man of integrity. The workers should have faith in him.

5. He should have ability to secure cooperation from the workers.

6. He should not lose temper quickly, rather he should have patience in dealing with workers.

7. He should have necessary competence so that he is able to solve the workers’ problems. He should be an efficient administrator. He should have the ability to perform the various functions of management.

8. He should be sympathetic towards human beings. He should have respect for the feelings of the workers.

9. He should be tactful and should know when to change the approach in dealing with the particular kind of people.


10. He should be imaginative to achieve better results. He should be in the habit of having up to date knowledge about the work, organisation and subordinates.