Sunday, 29 March 2015


Norman Sike Institute - Corporate Training. Phone 72153255

I have a wonderful book to be used as a reference text in the Management courses of Norman Sike Institute, particularly for corporate training.  It is called The New Supervisor and written by one Professor Elwood N. Chapman retired from the United States.

It is not a book of theory but of practical insights to being a modern supervisor. It explains the responsibilities a supervisor has to those both above and below. Often this person has the problem of being promoted from the ranks and required to supervise workers who were colleagues and often friends.

It traces the task ahead in an organization for a newly promoted supervisor. The book should be read by this person with support from the manager to whom the new supervisor is accountable.

I will find this book to be useful after our introduction that centred on management in a dictatorship illustrated by Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Idi Amin who terrorized all workers with destruction of productivity and professional growth of the worker. Please click:

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To criticize one of these dictators was to die after being arrested by secret police in the middle of the night, never to be seen again. Effective management cannot occur in dictatorships but only in democracy where all people have equal rights that accompany responsibilities.

A supervisor will have been on the job for a number of years and knows the work of the department. This person will be aware of the cycle of success in providing goods or services. There will be awareness of the tasks of workers in maintaining and raising productivity.

The supervisor was the friend of colleagues in the work place and friendship can remain as long as it does not interfere with the working relationship. A supervisor is not the same person as before but has now to account directly to the manager and give honest advice on workers and the work place.

At the same time, the supervisor has the responsibility to stand up for workers who are under criticism from management. There needs to be understanding of circumstances surrounding any problem in the work place.

The book points out the perks of a supervisor in relation to salary, office and being part of the management team. At the same time, there are the pressures from longer hours, counselling workers on problems and performance and the responsibility for maintaining and lifting productivity.

It is also the task of the supervisor to identify and acknowledge workers who have the capacity for increased responsibility and possible promotion. Such workers can be given access to promotion training. The book stresses the importance of the supervisor not playing favourites with the need to counsel any workers who do not recognize this important reality.

It is too easy for a dishonest supervisor to discover any competitors for promotion and work to destroy their credibility in reports to management. Advice to management can be false with inaccurate assessments to make the worker look bad and remain unpromoted.

The book has many lists of tasks of the supervisor. But the reader has to realize that in every list are 3-4 tasks that are not valid. On first reading, I found myself to be questioning certain tasks before realizing that some were not correct. I was using the book as the author intended.

The book likens workers to potted plants. One worker may stay in the pot and not put out roots but remains in the same place. Another worker may put out roots and has to be removed and placed in a larger pot. Some workers will thrive in a larger work environment with broader and deeper tasks and responsibilities.

A supervisor needs to be respected by management and the workers under his responsibility. The person is to be trusted and relied upon to give accurate advice to management and workers.

Both know that this person is committed to the company and to the welfare of those in the work place. Nevertheless, there will be company secrets that cannot be passed on.

This person is never too busy and understands that there are many hours between mid-night and dawn if need be in emergency situations.

This person has the task to delegate responsibility to workers capable of doing the job thus relieving the supervisor of long hours of work. Advice and extra training is given together with praise for jobs well done.

Jobs well done are useful in staff appraisal reports and a sure key to future promotion of a subordinate worker. An effective supervisor knows the work capacity of all subordinate workers.

The supervisor quietly accepts responsibility to management for any failure. Support and extra training to the delegated worker may be advisable if an honest mistake was made. The manager may need to counsel the supervisor.

Comment: This is a useful book that can contrast starkly with the situation in some companies and Government Departments. In Papua New Guinea, there can be corruption in the work place with managers and supervisors put in their places by bribery and nepotism.

It is not unlike the management situation in dictatorships. Workers can be motivated by fear and intimidation. Supervisors are in place to keep the workers in order and sack any worker who does not do as expected.

There is no criticism for fear of dismissal. Workers know that their supervisor is the cousin of the manager who will report any action of workers. Tasks are not delegated but thrust on workers with threat of dismissal if not done.

The New Supervisor
Chapman. Elwood N
Library of Congress 91-77082
ISBN 1-6052 -120-1

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