Qualities of a Good Supervisor:
Supervision is essential for the efficient and effective working of an organization. However, for this purpose, the supervisor himself has to be systematic, effective, and efficient. This objective can be secured only when the supervisor entrusted with the task of supervision is good and skillful personnel. Good supervision requires good supervisors.
Some people believe that supervisors are born and not made and that supervising ability is a natural talent. Such people emphasize the inborn qualities of supervisors. Undoubtedly the qualities of a supervisor depend upon personal qualities like an attractive personality, good health, high intelligence, persuasiveness, and loyalty to the organization, yet the qualities essential for effectively performing supervisory functions are different. We can say that in addition to these personal traits, there are certain qualities that a person must acquire for becoming a good supervisor.
Pfiffner has mentioned the following qualities of a good supervisor:
(1) Full Knowledge of Work- Command over the job content i.e., expert knowledge of the work to be supervised.
(2) Sound Personality- Personal qualities like integrity, honesty, ability to cooperate, ability to attract, motivate, enthuse, and unite others to work.
(3) Teaching Ability- It means the ability to communicate with the workers and make them understand the viewpoint of the management. It also involves the ability for self-education through observation and experience.
(3) A Healthy General Outlook- The supervisor should like his job and be absorbed in it. He should be in a position to inspire those who work under him. A supervisor with a healthy attitude and high morale alone can properly supervise others.
(4) Courage and Fortitude- He should have the ability to take decisions and assume responsibility. He should have a knack for taking quick and sound decisions. Th ability to improve the decision objectively and systematically is always an asset. He should have the courage of conviction.
(5) High Moral Standards- A good supervisor has to be free from biases and vices, particularly from corruption. He should be honest and virtuous. He should have a positive and healthy attitude towards work. He should be in a position to present an example of high moral standards.
(6) Administrative Technology- He should have the ability to manage, organize and coordinate the staff and their work. He should have knowledge and experience in supervisory techniques.
(7) Curiosity and Intellectual Ability- Intellectual alertness and acceptability to new ideas and practices are essential for a supervisor. He should be innovative in his outlook. He should be an eager learner himself. “A good teacher has to be a good student.”
Another eminent writer Halsey prescribes the following six essential qualities for a supervisor, which each supervisor must possess and inculcate.
(1) Thoroughness- A supervisor should collect all information relevant to the issue and take care of all necessary details pertaining to his work and his organization.
(2) Fairness- He must have a sense of justice, consideration, and truthfulness towards workers.
(3) Initiative- A supervisor must have the will and power to initiate action. The initiative is a combination of three qualities- courage, self-confidence, and decisiveness.
(4) Tact- It is the ability to win the loyalty and support of others by saying and doing those things which give them a feeling that they are playing an important part in whatever is being done. A supervisor should have the tact and skill to secure willing cooperation and action from his subordinates.
(5) Enthusiasm- It refers to an intense eager interest in and devotion to a cause, a pursuit of an ideal. Only an enthusiastic supervisor can keep and develop enthusiasm and courage among his subordinates.
(6) Emotional Control- It implies not the elimination of emotions but rather controlling and channelization of emotions in the right direction. Organization involves working by the personnel- the human beings. Since emotions are a part and parcel of the personality of each human being, these have to be accepted, tolerated, and channelized into fruitful and positive directions.
The most important quality essential for a superior is, however, the human relations aspect of supervision. Today, the place of command has been taken by persuasion and by trained and targeted control through influence. Influence and persuasion have emerged as more effective and productive instruments of control than power and authority. The success of a supervisor now depends more on his personal relations with and his influence upon his subordinates. But at the same time, he should always uphold the rules and regulations and apply these faithfully and objectively. The supervisor as such must keep the human-relation element in his mind and try to win over the confidence of his subordinates by treating them in a cordial and persuasive manner. He should have faith in participative management and adopt a helpful and encouraging attitude toward his subordinates. As far as possible, he must cover his commands with a touch of humanism. Formalism has to be combined with humanism in administration.