The Ultimate Duty of a Supervisor

I have held a number of jobs during the course of my life.  As a young teenager and on through my young-adult years I did things from helping a neighbor move sprinkler pipe, to cleaning the sweat off of fitness equipment, to working in a fast food restaurant, to working as a collector on past-due cell phone bills, a collector on defaulted short-term loans, to an in home care provider, to a glorified janitor, to a bookkeeper, to an order fulfillment agent.

Each of these jobs has provided great experience on how to work well with other people while trying to provide quality service to the customer.  That’s what employment is really all about: Service.  You are doing something for somebody else that the can’t/won’t/don’t want to do for themselves.  While it is true that they are compensating you for your efforts, it doesn’t change the fact that you could refuse to serve them if you really wanted to and your employer would let you get away with it.

A question comes up often on how an organization can maximize the yield they get from their employees.  Again, I believe the answer is service.  It is important to note that service does not mean subservience.  Service to someone else doesn’t mean you’re necessarily required to obey them or that you are subjecting themselves to whatever whim they might conceive.  Rather service means that you are willing to do things for another that will be for their benefit.  Service is rooted in a desire to leave others in a better state than you found them and is best when motivated  by love.

So, what does that have to do with the title of this post?  I was reflecting on an experience when one of my supervisors exemplified the quality of service to her team.

I was working as a collection agent for a short-term loan company.  I worked on an inbound call team that handled calls when customers were trying to make the determination of how to repay their loans.  Most call centers have a quality control system that is used to ensure that certain company requirements are being met on each call.  Meetings are held regularly between supervisor and team member to go over calls and determine if the quality standards are being met.

During one of these meetings with my supervisor, we went over a half dozen calls.  I was meeting the standards required, not only to the satisfaction of the quality control process, but even beyond the expectations of the company.  While I don’t remember the exact conversation we had, I remember that this supervisor wanted me to know that she valued the contribution I was making to her team.  She was so impressed that she wrote a letter to my mother to let her know how she was impressed with my work ethic.

I write this not to brag, but to illustrate the point that this supervisor went out of her way to make me feel like a valued employee.  This was one of the few times in my entire time having felt like my work was vindicated.  I can tell you that knowing how much this supervisor cared made me want to be that much better and work that much harder.  I can’t think of any incentive program that has instilled such a desire for improvement and wanting to do the best I could for my employer.

Whether you are an employee or an employer, the bottom line of what you’re doing should be a matter of service.  Let those around you know that you value them and you will have virtually unwavering loyalty from those individuals.


One thought on “The Ultimate Duty of a Supervisor

  1. Pingback: Your boss has a lot to do with whether you like your work - CFO Totality

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