Along with overseeing the actual work product of people placed under their supervision, managers who take on supervisory roles often serve as mentors. Supervisors notice which employees excel at certain tasks and encourage them to pursue further education or give them more responsibilities. Supervisors also track poor performers and either help them improve or find replacements. Either way, supervisors face challenges in their day-to-day activities.


When they must continually train new employees, it can be difficult for supervisors to meet deadlines and maintain structure in their departments. Supervisors face challenges of finding out how best to entice employees to remain on the job. Although the majority of managers think they lose employees for financial reasons, in actuality, most employees leave for other reasons, such as poor management and dissatisfaction with the culture.


Supervisors in small companies often are responsible for the advertising, interviewing and hiring of new employees. Even in companies with a human resources department, supervisors play a role in the selection process. Interviewing requires a set of skills; without interview training, supervisors are challenged by the process of vetting and choosing the best candidates.


Training new employees presents supervisors with one of the biggest challenges of the job. Supervisors have superiors they report to and quotas to meet, but new employees usually are not ready to take on the workload needed to meet deadlines and goals. Supervisors must be encouraging and patient while pushing new staff to quickly learn the job.

Team Building

Most workplaces rely on employees who work as a team to meet company goals. It’s the supervisor’s responsibility to develop and maintain effective teams and see that they operate smoothly.

Problem Solving

Supervisors must have an investigative side to their characters that drives them to find the core of problems as they arise. Problems with production, team building or employee turnover may not be obvious, but it’s the supervisor’s challenge to get to the bottom of issues as they arise and come up with and institute solutions.


Supervisors must be strategic planners. It’s up to each supervisor to make predictions for the department needs for the coming year to present to the firm’s leadership for budgeting purposes. Supervisors usually are required to predict how many employees and what level of resources they will need in the next year’s budget to meet the company’s goals.


Supervisors often are promoted based on time with the company and a level of technical proficiency. They usually know the company product or service, how it works and how it’s sold. It’s often challenging for supervisors to watch others do the same jobs they were so good at, especially when they must delegate the work as part of their supervisory new role.


It’s up to supervisors to keep their teams motivated. Supervisors must be aware of how their own attitudes affect employees. When supervisors are enthusiastic and energized with their work, it’s easier to get others to follow suit. Supervisors who are not happy with their jobs have a more difficult time motivating their charges.


Supervisors must provide regular reviews to their employees. Performance reviews can be challenging when supervisors must address difficult personal issues with staff members or when they haven’t developed a practice of ongoing communication about job performance.


Supervision requires an entirely new set of skills that many people new to the position lack. Besides managing the behaviors and reactions of a staff, supervisors also must learn to manage personal stress. The transition from worker to supervisor is often challenging and many new supervisors find themselves working too much to compensate. Overwork potentially leads to stress, illness, mood swings and eventual burnout.