How to Define Supervisory Management

by Ruth Mayhew; Updated September 26, 2017

Supervisory management is the equivalent of front-line supervision, and typically is the first step on the career ladder to middle management or senior-level management. Supervisory management is a form of management; however, less authority and autonomy are often granted to entry-level supervisors in this stage of a management career.

Step 1

Research online resources for entry-level supervisory positions and note the similarities and differences among supervisors based on company size, industry and organizational structure. Read about organizational structures and hierarchy within organizations and review organizational charts to learn what supervisory duties entail. An organizational chart is a visual depiction of where supervisors rank in relationship to the overall business structure. The total number of employees within an organization, as well as the number of employees who report to each supervisor affect the definition of supervisory management.

Step 2

Obtain a job posting or description for an entry-level supervisory management role in a production facility. In this first step to management, the distance between supervisory management and upper-level management is very broad. In many production-oriented organizations, supervisors are essentially peers of front-line workers who have additional responsibilities such as timekeeping, quality control and training new production workers. Employees who demonstrate traits such as dependability, accuracy and technical knowledge are promoted into these supervisory roles because they have the level of technical knowledge and functional expertise necessary to manage a small part of the production environment.

Step 3

Review supervisory management roles in another work environment, such as the retail industry. The retail industry typically promotes employees into supervisory management roles based on qualifications and traits related to customer service, familiarity with the product and industry knowledge. For example, a sales associate who specializes in one department of a large chain may be promoted based on his familiarity with the product, long history of exemplary customer service skills and the ability to effectively promote the product. A supervisory management position within the retail industry is usually the equivalent of an assistant department manager or department supervisor.

Step 4

Study the curriculum for certificates or degrees in supervisory management to learn more about what coursework is required for people who want credentials in this field. For example, Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin offers a two-year degree in supervisory management. Its curriculum includes coursework in human resources management, principles of supervision and human behavior. Because supervisory management is merely the first step in a management career, much of the curriculum for programs like this do not include the heavier topics such as leadership and motivation theories, career and professional development or topics that might be included in well-known management programs such as Six Sigma.

About the Author

Ruth Mayhew began writing in 1985. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry" and "Human Resources Managers Appraisal Schemes." Mayhew earned senior professional human resources certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.