Managerial Functions Are the Same
The managerial aspects of all supervisory jobs are the same, regardless of the technical functions in which supervisors are engaged. The managerial functions of a supervisory position are similar whether the person is a foreman or forelady of a production line, a supervisor of a housekeeping division, a supervisor of a laboratory, a chief engineer in a maintenance department, or a supervisor of stenographic services. By the same token, basic managerial functions are the same regardless of the level within the hierarchy of management. It does not matter whether one is a supervisor "on the firing line," whether one is in middle-level management, or whether the person is part of the top management (or executive) group. Nor does it matter in what kind of organization one is working. Managerial functions are the same whether the supervisor is working in an industrial enterprise, a commercial enterprise, a nonprofit organization, a fraternal organization, a government office, a school, or a hospital. The supervisor performs the same basic managerial functions of planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling in all of these organizations.
Technical Skills in Relation to Managerial Skills
As stated previously, all supervisors must possess the technical skills and specific know-how in the particular fields, which they supervise. For example, a nursing supervisor must know the job of nursing; a construction supervisor must know the skills of the construction trades, such as carpentry and bricklaying. But in addition tobeing technically competent, supervisors should also possess basic managerial skills. Further, as supervisors advance upward in the managerial ranks, they will rely less upon technical skills, and will find it increasingly more important to apply managerial capability and managerial skills. Therefore, the top executive usually possesses fewer specific technical skills than those who are employed in lower managerial positions. But in moving to the top, the executive has acquired numerous managerial capacities and skills which are utilized in directing the entire enterprise. For example, the chief executive of a company is concerned primarily with the management of the overall activities of the firm; thus, the duties for the most part are managerial and administrative. In this endeavor, the chief executive depends upon subordinate managers, including all of the supervisors, to achieve the objectives of the enterprise. Most of the top executive's time is spent applying managerial skills for coordinating and influencing the efforts of all subordinate managers toward common objectives.
In this text, the terms "supervisor" and "manager" shall be used interchangeably. However, the terms "executive" and "administrator" shall generally be used to identify an individual who is at a higher level in the organization than a "supervisor." References will be made to basic supervisory, managerial, and/or administrative functions as being the same. There are some theoretical distinctions that could be considered, but for our purposes the basic functions of management wilt be considered as being the same throughout all levels of management.
DEVELOPMENT OF MANAGERIAL SKILLS
Many people believe that good managers, like some good athletes, are born, not made. Yet research has indicated that this belief is generally incorrect. Even though it cannot be denied that people are born with different physiological potential and that they are endowed with unequal amounts of intelligence. An athlete who is not equipped with natural physical advantages is not likely to run a hundred yards in record time. On the other hand, many individuals who are "natural athletes" have not come close to that goal either. Most superior athletes are individuals with some natural endowment, who by practice, learning, effort, sacrifice, and experience have developed their natural endowments into mature skills. The same holds true for a good manager; by practice, learning, and experience one develops natural endowments of intelligence and personal characteristics into the mature skills of a good manager. The skills involved in managing are as learnable and teachable as are the skills in playing tennis. But it does take time, effort and determination for a supervisor to develop managerial skills.
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