You are as good as your subordinate


In my recent visit to one company, I overheard a supervisor complain with colleagues about their subordinates. “Who does she think she is? I would rather supervise 30 men than this one woman,” she whined!

She went on with her long list of complaints, “She does not realize that she is incompetent and she always responds with ‘I don’t understand this procedure’ when given a task.

Since I did not recruit her, let those who hired her, fire her. Who told her that every Tom, Dick and Harry must work here? I will continue shining with or without her!” All of this said in one single breath!

I felt sorry for both the supervisor and supervisee. It was obvious that the subordinate understands her inefficiencies and accepts them, but the first person to understand a subordinate’s incompetence levels should ideally be the supervisor.

An individual subordinate cannot know everything about every company that they have recently joined. So dear supervisor, you do not necessarily have to be involved in the recruitment process of a person to supervise them effectively.

It is worth noting that most supervisors can only shine with the help of their subordinates. They are the ones who may cause you to score and soar with wings like eagles at the same time they are the ones who may lead to your downfall.

For a supervisor to shine bright, take note of the following:

  • Set goals and targets together with your subordinates. They will own them and endeavour to achieve them in an effort to and defend their cause to fulfil them.
  • A supervisor can only be as effective as his decision-making skills. The world is moving fast, so woe to you without decision making skills.
  •  Another thing to look out for and prepare for is change. So manage changing situations well.
  • Time management is also a crucial element in management and supervising. Manage your time effectively to achieve results.
  • Pay attention to communicating management. Without understanding and the effective transfer of knowledge, communication is futile.
  • Discussing a subordinate’s weakness with others for ridicule purposes is simply unethical.
  • Delegation is key but be mindful of the tasks and responsibilities you delegate, in view of the guiding principles of the organisation.
  • Finally, proper, on-job training must be carried out until expected results are achieved.

The writer is the career and placement officer

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