The Practice of Management

By Peter F. Drucker | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 25
THE SUPERVISOR

Is the supervisor "management to the worker"?--Why the supervisor has to be a manager--The supervisor's upward responsibility --The supervisor's two jobs--Today's confusion--Cutting down the supervisor's department the wrong answer--What the supervisor needs--Objectives for his department--Promotional opportunities for the supervisor and the worker--His management status--What the job should be--Managers needed rather than supervisors.

THE first-line supervisor is not, as the overworked catch phrase has it, "management to the worker." The engineering of the job and the organization of people for work; the presence or lack of proper motivation; the employee's economic relations to the enterprise; the spirit, principles and practices of an organization, are not determined by the supervisor or even greatly influenced by him. They originate in top management--and the worker knows it. Even the best supervisor is no substitute for poor principles and practices in managing workers. To overemphasize his importance, as current management oratory tends to do, may cause harm; for it sometimes leads management to content itself with haranguing the supervisor to do a better job in the mistaken belief that it is thereby discharging its responsibility for managing workers.

Yet, the first-line supervisor (whether called "foreman," "chief clerk" or "section manager") alone can really bring to management what the worker needs for peak performance. On his ability to plan and schedule depends the worker's ability to work. His performance in training and placing makes the difference between superior and mediocre performance of the work.

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