making sure the job is done right. Good supervision
requires good leadership skills.
What makes a person a good supervisor? A good
supervisor will first break a job down into individual
tasks and then ensure all needed materials are available.
He or she will then assign the tasks to the most
appropriate persons. Many people think a supervisors
job is done at this point; however, that definitely is not
the case. Indeed, those actions are only the beginning of
a supervisors job, as you shall see in the following
BREAK THE JOB INTO TASKS
When your work group is given a job, the first
decision you, as a supervisor, must make is who will do
what. Sound simple? Well, it is simple, providing you
know the job, how to get it done, and the capabilities of
your crew. This is the planning and organization phase.
Jobs that require more than one person to
accomplish can be broken into smaller tasks or steps.
You can then assign each task or step to a different
worker. A definite sequence of events must be followed
to do even the simplest job right. For example, look at
the steps involved in painting a bulkhead. First, the
surface must be sanded (or stripped, if required). Second,
the surface should be cleaned of any residue from the
sanding or stripping. Third, a primer coat and then the
finish coat of paint should be applied. If any of these
tasks or steps are skipped or done out of sequence, the
job will have to be redone.
A good supervisor ensures each worker understands
his or her part in the job and can do the assigned task.
Remember the job of painting a bulkhead discussed
earlier? Suppose you assigned a task in that painting job
to someone who didnt know the proper way to perform
the task. The entire job would suffer, and time and
material would be wasted.
When assigning tasks, you also must consider the
danger to your ship and your workers when an individual
is unaware of safety rules. Whenever possible, pair a
knowledgeable worker with an untrained one; that way
you get good results on the job and the untrained worker
gets trained. If you have no trained workers available,
you must conduct training. If the required training is
beyond your capability, use your chain of command to
get it from an appropriate source.
AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
Once you, the supervisor, have planned and
organized events needed to accomplish a task, then you
must make sure all required materials are available and
safety precautions will be observed. Having to stop work
while you track down a certain part or piece of equipment
frustrates you, your workers, and your superiors and
causes unnecessary delays.
Do not trust your memory on technical matters,
especially when they involve safety. During this part of
the planning phase, refer to appropriate checklists,
technical manuals, technical orders, or instructions to
make sure work meets all safety requirements and
personnel accomplish all required steps. Make sure all
required safety checks are up to date on all necessary
When getting materials for a job, make sure items
subject to shelf-life restrictions are current. A shelf-life
item is one you must use or discard within a certain time.
Shelf-life dates appear on the containers of these items.
Do not use materials with expired shelf-life dates.
THE PROPER TOOL FOR THE JOB
As you train your workers, insist upon the proper use
of the proper tool for any given job. A knife blade is not
a good screwdriver; wrenches are not good hammers; and
screwdrivers are dangerous when used as chisels or pry
bars. Using a tool in an inappropriate way can cause
injury to the worker and damage to the tool and the work
piece. You are responsible for the well being of the
personnel assigned to you as well as the condition of the
tools in your care. PMS cards, maintenance manuals, and
technical orders often describe the proper tool for a
specific task. Safety periodicals and other Navy
publications, such as Deckplate and Maintenance
Crossfeed, provide timely information concerning new
developments in safety. An excellent source of
information concerning proper tool use is the training
manual Use and Care of Hand Tools and Measuring
Tools, NAVEDTRA 12085.