The Self-Directed Work Team
The Role of the Supervisor
There has been much confusion about the role of the supervisor during and after a work group's transition to a SDWT, and this confusion has led to
fear, resentment, and resistance on the part of middle management. The supervisor's role changes from giving day-to-day instructions to team members to playing a larger role in strategic planning and coordination. However, this larger role is seldom communicated properly, leaving supervisors confused and fearful about job loss.
The supervisor's role during transition is to help the team learn new skills and become self-sufficient. The supervisor, then, takes on more oversight and coordination responsibility. In some cases, the supervisor's position may change entirely.
The Expanded Role of the Supervisor
1. Teach and transfer skills to the new SDWT, help create independence
2. Coordinate between groups and departments
3. Perform long-range strategic planning for the team
4. Coach team members for high performance
5. Identify new training that may be needed by the team
6. Investigate new work processes, technology, and equipment
7. Perform problem solving at the strategic level
8. Work closely with customers to improve product and service quality