I am my supervisor’s slave
Supervisor subordinate relationships have been a matter of discussion and at many instances has also been associated with controversy. Supervision basically means carefully overseeing the subordinates at work. A subordinate usually has to report to at least one supervisor in a corporate. The first instance of a supervisor subordinate relationship is during the socialization process of new employee induction program through formal and informal processes. The basic need for such socialization is that the new comer adopts the values and goals of the organization. This in turn gets affected by certain socializing factors like employee position, tenure, qualification, religion and region to name a few of them. The most alarming part is that ineffective socialization can affect the subordinates performance, satisfaction level, turnover, work attitudes, stress and tension. An organizations performance to a great extent depends on the supervisor’s ability to communicate with people inside the organization and outside it. The emphasis should be on the communication of the supervisor impacting the performance and behaviour of the subordinate. This should be of prime importance for the organization. The basic areas needing emphasis in supervisor subordinate communication should include:
- Directing the subordinate about task performance and completion information.
- Providing adequate information related to the task.
- The details of “why” the task activities are important and required for task completion.
- Proper feedback handling both negative and positive responses with great care.
- Allowing participation of subordinates in the decision-making process thus encouraging them to open up and work hard.
This would enable smooth functioning of the organization and building stronger relationships in future.
As a supervisor you should not be authoritive, dominating, altering communications and inconsiderate. Instead you should help in policy improvement, solving domain-related issues, resolving conflicts and changing the reward systems as and when needed.
A subordinate should actively participate in the designing and implementing of process to the goals and objectives for the team and organization. In case any clarification and definition is needed to identify functions and organizational structures you should discuss the same with your supervisor to avoid working on incomplete information. For smooth coordination between them communication of goals, trust, bilateral information flow and professionalism becomes inevitable. Both of them should maintain boundaries relating to in person and emotion in office and also outside to maintain professionalism. A subordinate usually gets positively influenced by good leadership, teamwork, support, motivation, change and adaptivity.
Supervisor subordinate relationship is vital for organizational efficiency
A supervisor has many functions to play which helps in achieving productivity for the organization. While donning the hat of a supervisor the individual should primarily be focusing on effectively and efficiently managing his subordinates at the operative level. Hence a supervisor has multiple roles to play. For example:
- Manager: A supervisor should be part of the management team of an organization.
- Leader and Motivator: Provide leadership and collaborative direction to subordinates and constantly motivate them to perform better.
- Planner: A supervisor has to plan the daily, weekly and monthly work schedule of the subordinates.
- Educator for subordinates: A supervisor has to act as an educator where the team members are new or where he is new to a team.
- Coach subordinates: To coach subordinates when processes or conditions change and has to coach them through the change process.
- Counsel: When a subordinates problems impact performance then the supervisor should counsel the subordinate by being supportive, positive and encouraging thus enabling in resolving the problem.
A supervisor subordinate relationship should be under careful supervision and monitoring if needed. Their relationship at times can affect the organization and its performance directly or indirectly. This may have sequel impact on the employees seeking identity, hike, affirmation, stabilization, friendship, dating and even romance. They may look within the boundaries of their organizations for goal attainment or job satisfaction. In any organization one can report problem relating to supervisor subordinate relationship where a supervisor may be getting carried away due to intentional or unintentional favouritism to a direct or indirect subordinate. The favour may be in the form of perks or evolving acceptability of interoffice romance and relationships. These issues have to be avoided or very delicately handled without affecting the workplace and relationship with the rest employees.
The relationship between the supervisor and subordinate should be very healthy and relying for a smooth organizational growth. The basic role of a subordinate is to perform the assigned tasks and responsibilities assigned by the supervisor with perfection and on time. The factors creating role conflicts should be minimized by regulating company policies and minimizing company politics. Romantic relationship especially between a direct/ immediate supervisor subordinate should be discouraged in order to avoid problems of sexual harassment, complications, personal relationship instead of professional thus making their working relationship difficult. This may also create unwanted stress and tension among other subordinates of the team and even outside it. This may affect an organizations performance and growth.
A nightmare scenario can be a disastrous love affair between a supervisor and his direct subordinate which may damage morale and productivity of both. Some workplace romances can also lead to serious legal and financial consequences affecting the employee as well as the organization. To avoid interoffice relationships the easiest way is to have policy for the same before the eleventh hour. This is crucial because in situations of breakups team unity will be affected and simultaneously management thus impacting the organization. You cannot restrict the feelings as it is not always in an individual’s control. This clearly implies strategically setting limitations for the same. In situations of a supervisor dating a subordinate, it should be made confidential and public displays of emotions must be restricted. You cannot stop two independent, matured and sensible adults from making personal preferences. But inside the organization it should not be noticeable. In such situation the management can put the supervisor and subordinate in separate teams or transfer one of them in a different zone office or any other significant step to minimize the effect.
As a supervisor it becomes difficult to get a task completed if the subordinate is not committed to success for the organization. One of the biggest mistakes a supervisor makes is by pointing out the fault and negativity in the subordinate and rarely recognizing the efforts and successes. It is a matter of fact that one performs better when you know that you are being appreciated for your efforts and work thus motivating them to strive to do well. This will also add on to the growth of the organization. Proper planning becomes essential to avoid sudden crisis and operational difficulty. Instead of providing biannual or quarterly feedback and demotivating your subordinate, try to be more liberal and helping. As a supervisor you should see yourself growing with the growth and development of your subordinates.
Workplace conflict is pretty common these days. The blame must not always be passed on to the supervisor or the subordinate. Instead if you try to analyze there can be many factors to be held responsible. The most important among them is the hierarchical structure of organizations differentiating in terms of capability, power, long working hours and designations. Apart from style differences and personal differences between a supervisor and a subordinate, some organizational factors like disagreement about core values and visions among the management of the organizations, leadership strategy also play vital role in enhancing workplace conflicts. Moreover if a supervisor is not able to effectively communicate and express the needs and interests, the subordinate may not be able to give his/her best. At the end subordinates performance will be affected resulting in negative feedback, demotivation and poor rating. The inability to handle efficiently will affect the subordinate’s performance also bringing down the team performance as a whole. If you keep your personal interest, priorities and ego after the organizational interest and growth, workplace conflict will be minimal and easily resolvable. Avoiding, discouraging and ignoring workplace conflict is essential as it may cost organizations loss both economically and productively. The rest of the co-workers may get affected resulting in lost opportunity and morale degradation. It also increases personal stress and bad health. So good sleep is essential to stay active and alert at work.
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- Manisha Kumari Deep (Author), 2012, I am my supervisor’s slave, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/200850