The Sorry Tale of the Sad Supervisor


Once upon a time there was a member of staff who was part of the Site team.  He was REALLY good at his job – he managed his time, knew what was expected of him, was personable and helpful to all those he came into contact with.

He was the “go-to” guy for getting stuff sorted.

To recognise his expert skills, he was promoted to Site Supervisor.  An increase in salary; recognition of his hard work and dedication and a reward for his superb skills.

…..and then they left him to it.

Suddenly he was expected to run a team of site staff, all of whom were his mates.

He had to conduct performance management and appraisals against KPIs (whatever they were!).

He had to have difficult conversations with his mates about tardy time keeping and laddish behaviour.

He had to account for the spending of his department against the overall budget of the organisation but had no understanding of basic business finance.

He had to meet contractors for tenders, asking relevant, pertinent and insightful questions.

He had to motivate staff who grumbled, moaned and threw their toys out of the pram on a regular basis.

He had to attend meetings with Senior staff and stakeholders and be articulate and engaging in his presentations.

He had to balance his time between all the demands of his own work and that of different departments who now hounded him on a daily basis to get “stuff” sorted for their own areas of the business.

……and then he resigned!

After 18 months, he had had enough.

  • His confidence was at an all time low.
  • His department was in trouble financially because the expenditure was out of control.
  • His friends now shunned his company because he was “management”.
  • He ran around the site trying to juggle all the demands of the job and not managing to finish any of them.
  • He couldn’t articulate to stakeholders what the plans for the future were because strategies for the organisation were not shared with him and he didn’t know how to manage upwards.
  • He was losing sleep, eating poorly and getting snappy with colleagues and family.

An organisation that had a little gem in its midst, and who, with some careful nurturing would have transferred his strong practical skill-set to strong management, was left to flounder and ultimately walk away.

Sadly, he is not alone.

Many businesses promote members of staff who are excellent in their role and begin on the management ladder.  But without support, help, guidance and time to acquire the necessary soft skills, they can fall by the wayside or leave to try and rebuild their confidence in another role.

If you’d like to avoid this with your supervisors and new managers, it’s a great idea to invest in their development as soon as possible.  Knowing you support them in their progress and understand it takes time, can make all the difference.  It provides a solid grounding in management and a loyalty to your business that you value them and want to support them.

Athelbrae Ltd designed the Getting to Grips with management programme precisely because so many organisations wanted a practical series of modules to enable their managers to be confident, and supported in their early months in the role.

Do call or email if you’d like further details – 01892 832059 or


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