By dessquire, 1 November, 2010

I have in the past stated that supervisors, managers and/or leaders should be CAPABLE, willing to accept and deal effectively with AUTHORITY, accept the RESPONSIBILITY that goes with the position and acknowledge there will be ACCOUNTABILITY.

Over the past few months in particular I have been exposed in various companies to individuals who are classified as supervisors and managers who in fact possess few if any of the attributes I outlined.

What is more disconcerting is that in many instances the employees are calling the shots, the employees are setting the “lack of standards” and managers are being led by their subordinates.

Who’s the boss - The employee, the supervisor or manager?


How are managers and supervisors using and exerting their authority? What is their understanding of authority? How do the use their authority?

Managers or supervisor have been given authority but, for reasons beyond my comprehension, are failing to use it. As a result the credibility of the manager is “gone for a ball of chalk”. Employees have no respect for the manager and the manager or supervisor is viewed as being weak and incapable

Once appointed a manager must let the staff know who the boss is. This can be done in a very diplomatic and non dogmatic or dictatorial manner. The manager must clarify at the outset what his or her standards are and most importantly must enforce and uphold these standards.

If in doubt the manager or supervisor should assume authority within the constraints of the position. There is no room in management for individuals who are not prepared to accept authority, willing to assume authority, or who refuse to acknowledge authority.


Being capable involves a thorough knowledge of the company, its values, mission and objectives. It involves being capable of leading others while commanding their respect. What amazes me is how many supervisors and managers have no idea of the mission statement or the values of the company.


In any supervisory or managerial position, having the ability to accept responsibilities is essential. Supervisors and managers are responsible for staff under their control, for applying company policies and procedures.

That is what is supposed to be happening but is it? In so many instances the policies and procedures are not upheld because the manager does not agree with them and has as much as told the subordinates he/she does not agree with them.

In other cases the supervisors and/or managers fail to enforce the policies and procedures for fear of becoming unpopular. The result is there are no standards. The policies and procedures are not adhered to and discipline and disciplinary measures are not enforced.

The result is that action cannot be taken against errant employees as there are no standards and procedural and substantive fairness are suspect. The employer’s hands are suddenly tied.


Should the supervisor and/or manager be held accountable for failing to act? The answer is, yes.

When a person is given responsibility they need to realise and accept they will be held accountable. This is the true sign of a quality leader and manager.

When managers fail to take action or to make decisions they must be held accountable.

When managers fail to manage and enforce the policies and procedures in a company the must be held accountable.

When managers are incapable of doing the job they must be dealt with as incompetent.

When managers and/or supervisors fail to use their authority as managers they must have this authority taken away.

It time Supervisors, managers and leaders let subordinates know who the boss is. It’s time managers and leaders, took back control.

Des Squire (Managing Member)


[email protected]



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