The percentage of supervisors who lose their jobs because of technical incompetence is quite small as compared to the much greater percentage of supervisors who fail in managerial positions because of the inability to deal effectively with people.
Many individuals devote weeks, months, and even years to the task of learning the ins-and-outs, including the nitty gritty details of a craft, trade, or science. They become master craftsmen, technicians, engineers, or scientists and take great pride in their abilities. This, of course, is as it should be, for their skills are vital to our productive capacity, our economy, and even toour continued existence.
One big consideration to be reckoned with, however, is the fact that once these individuals are placed in supervisory positions, their technical competency must share its importance with an ability to deal effectively with workers. Herein lies the problem, for many of these same people have spent little time or effort in learning to deal with people. This situation often causes a leaning toward a natural tendency to continue to attend to those things withwhich the supervisor is most familiar. For example, a machine costing, let’s say, $100,000 and which is expected to perform for 10 years, has a rigid maintenance schedule set up for it. Its performance is constantly being checked and periodic adjustments are made to insure that it is kept in good condition. The operator of that machine, however, costing let’s say, 30,000 per year, with an expectation of 10 to 15 productive years, may go completely unattended. Evaluations of performance and periodic adjustments may be completely ignored. Yet, no more complex, more complicated, more tedious machine has ever been developed than man himself.
Recent studies in the management field clearly indicate that those supervisors, who put proper adjustment and care of their personnel ahead of their drive for production, actually get more production. These studies, and common sense, would then seem to place priority on the task of learning all you can about your workers. Then use your knowledge in directing them, satisfying their needs, and developing their abilities.