Matthew Gates 4m 1,108 #supervisor
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
The vast majority of companies usually have a hierarchy of employees that are assigned specific tasks for their job. Many of these tasks are usually listed in the job description when someone first applies to a job while there are always going to be tasks given that come to be expected and are not listed anywhere within the job description. For most companies, the hierarchy is designed to follow a network of power, authority, and control. What does this actually look like?
→CEO / Upper or Top Boss / Owner / Founder
→Supervisor / Manager / Upper or Higher Boss
→Employee / Worker / Co-workers
There are always going to be varying degrees of authority and leadership just under the CEO, but above the supervisor, sometimes even below your supervisor and above you, who take on roles such as CFO (Chief Financial Officer) or CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), as well as those who may be above you, such as a “Team Lead” or “Team Leader”, and while this co-worker may have the title, he or she generally does not have any authority to enact disciplinary action or reward, but rather is there to inspire, encourage, answer questions, or report your actions and behaviors to their supervisor, who is in turn, your supervisor, and who you technically all answer to when it comes to the organization.
The supervisor’s role is technically to monitor employees and is usually the direct line of communication if you are wishing to speak to a “higher up”. Supervisors come in many different forms, shapes, sizes, and genders. Most of the time, supervisors tend to be slightly older than the average age of all the employees, but there are times where a supervisor can be a decade younger than the employees they are managing. The supervisor usually takes care of customer complaints and deals with customer service and support between employee representative of the company and those who the company is providing services for.
A supervisor often represents every aspect of the company and is the absolute representative for employees and is usually the face of authority that customers come to know and trust, as well as expect to ensure satisfaction. Their job is extremely important and there are often many hidden undisclosed roles that are expected, including longer hours, more responsibilities, and an understanding of dealing with the psychology of humans in the workplace. Most of the time, companies will make a very careful and calculated decision on appointing a person to this position. This position usually comes with more pay and responsibility, and sometimes even more training and company secrets.
Finally, one of the most underwritten jobs of a supervisor is to boost employee morale, get employees excited to do their jobs, engage with customers, and continue to prove loyalty to their company by showing up to work, doing the job, and doing it well. A supervisor can make a great team even better and even ensure productivity and profit. Now that we understand the job of a supervisor, it is unfortunate to say that too many are often overlooked when it comes toxicity and endangerment of the company. The effects of a supervisor may not be seen or felt for many years, and the employees or even customers may be blamed for the actions of a supervisor.
This is not to say that there aren’t times where the actions of a supervisor are justified, such as the firing of an employee, but there are many other times where common courtesy and decency towards employees is not given. The signs of a toxic supervisor are almost always noticed immediately by employees, but it is often overlooked by higher ups, company officials, or even the CEO. Sometimes this is on purpose and other times it is simply that they genuinely did not notice. Many of the higher ups technically hired this person and provided them with the position based on past performance and continued performance requirements.
When a person reaches a certain level, specifically that of supervisor, they are much more trusted and given more responsibilities and tasks. Signs of a toxic supervisor usually don’t just appear overnight and have been there since the beginning, but either hidden well, ignored, or the supervisor may know the higher ups and was purposely put in that position. These traits may be seen in the form of increased ego, arrogance, self-importance, or self-worth. Regardless of how they acquired the position or continue to perform in their position, they are a supervisor who is toxic.
Toxic traits may cause employees to feel unsatisfied by their work and may even cause them to voluntarily terminate their employment with the company. Toxic supervisors may play favorites and is constantly awarding the same few individuals without looking at anyone else within their own team. They are often bullies, more so mentally than physically, in the fact that they make an employee feel unworthy of their own job. Ideas that flow to the toxic supervisor may go unheard or even be used to advance the position of the supervisor. Issues among the employees may also go unresolved or be used against the complaining employee. It also seems that many employees with a toxic supervisor are too afraid to go to Human Resources out of fear that there will be retaliation from HR and the toxic supervisor.
A toxic supervisor somehow manages to always remain under the radar of their own superiors or bosses, yet somehow delivers on making the employees who they oversee feel uneasy, uncomfortable, or unable to efficiently perform tasks and duties for the company that they would normally be able to perform optimally under a supervisor who is not so toxic. Employee morale seems better when this supervisor is on vacation or not there or any time they are not at the job. There is very little that can be done for toxic supervisors, as they have gone undetected for many years, and this usually leads to trauma for all who were involved in the daily battering.
While training and other programs may help them if their toxic behavior is caught early on, in most cases, companies are often too late and must resort to the only thing they can do which is to terminate the toxic supervisor and never speak of it again, as many companies do. It is unknown whether companies hire non-toxic supervisors after detecting a toxic one, as many are unwilling to even admit the issues they were facing. However, it goes a long way for any employee morale for a company to take professional and disciplinary actions against a toxic supervisor so that the company employees may begin a healing process.