What are the basics roles and responsibilities of supervision? I believe simply put they are:
- Good and accurate planning
- Training, developing, instructing, and influencing the people in your care
- Serving those in your care and developing them in a positive, professional manner.
So how do we, as leaders, take the time and effort to learn?
I have always believed that I was fortunate to learn how to do this during my time at UPS. My valuable lesson came from an early policy at UPS. I started as a part-time employee, and when the opportunity for a full-time position arose, the policy was that we became a full-time driver first, and then moved into full-time supervision if that was the path we chose. All roads to full-time were through a driving position.
This was a great opportunity, and also an honor, to become a full-time driver. Why did I view this as a great first step? This was, in fact, who we are as a company, and we all needed to understand who we are, what we stood for, and more importantly, what we would not compromise: service to our customers.
That was a lesson I held onto and never compromised as I moved through the organization and took on new jobs and responsibilities. Before we can plan, instruct, and manage, we must first learn for ourselves. From that point forward, whether inside UPS or the roles I had after retiring from UPS, my first task was to spend a day in an operation or function important to our core business and learn it from the people who did it every day with great pride, efficiency, and service.
Leaders must take the time and effort to learn.
It becomes clear when you take the approach that our best learning comes from others, especially those people in our care and supervision. Collectively, they know their jobs, perform them well, and care for each other more than we will ever know. Understanding this comes from spending quality time with them.
We also learn from our peers, from people in other functions tasked with supporting us, and we learn and develop new ideas for old problems from these interactions.
Don’t hesitate to seek out advice to increase your knowledge. This is not a sign of weakness, but one of strength. For me, the biggest thing I knew was what I did not know! No one person knows it all, nor are they expected to know it all. When you find that person who believes they know it all, feel for them, as they now have no place to go and nothing to learn. They are no longer curious, but sadly simply judgmental.
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