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5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Supervisor

A supervisor is more than just a title; it’s a critical position that bridges the gap between executive vision and on-the-ground execution. Supervisors drive company culture, motivate employee performance, and troubleshoot daily challenges.

For many, the position is an introduction to being a leader for the first time. This opportunity is made sweeter because the position involves a salary increase. However, before deciding to take a supervisor position, individuals need to understand what they are signing up for. In today’s article, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of being a supervisor.

Developing Leadership Skills

Being a supervisor offers a unique opportunity to develop leadership skills that are essential for both personal and professional growth. For many supervisors, this is an opportunity to learn leadership skills or strengthen existing skills. This role demands the ability to guide a team towards achieving common goals, making critical decisions, and resolving conflicts effectively.

Supervisors learn to communicate clearly and motivate their team members. This experience is invaluable, as it hones one’s ability to lead with confidence and adaptability, skills that are highly sought after in any career path.

Supervisors are often faced with challenges that require quick thinking and innovative solutions. This role enhances one’s leadership abilities by providing constant opportunities to tackle issues ranging from workflow inefficiencies to interpersonal conflicts within the team.

Supervisors learn to analyze situations from multiple perspectives, weigh the potential outcomes of different decisions, and implement solutions that best serve the team and the organization. Over time, this practice in problem-solving becomes a fundamental skill that supervisors can apply in various aspects of life.


Gaining In-depth Industry Knowledge

When supervisors are promoted or hired to the position, they gain the advantage of getting an inside look at how the business operates. For a supervisor to succeed, they need to increase their knowledge in different areas.

As a result, supervisors acquire in-depth knowledge that not only enhances their current performance but also prepares them for future opportunities, including higher-level management positions. This expertise makes them invaluable assets to their organizations and increases their career mobility.


Building a Professional Network

Being in a supervisory position naturally expands one’s professional network. Supervisors interact with a variety of stakeholders, including team members, higher management, clients, and vendors. Consequently, these interactions often provide opportunities to build relationships that can be beneficial both professionally and personally.

A strong network can offer support, mentorship, and even open doors to new career opportunities. Networking as a supervisor also means representing your team and organization, which can enhance your reputation in your industry.

Read: 10 Qualities of a Good Supervisor


Enhancing Emotional Intelligence

Supervisory roles require managing not just tasks, but people. This demands a high level of emotional intelligence by supervisors to navigate the different personalities, motivations, and emotions within a team. Supervisors learn to listen actively, provide constructive feedback, and empathize with their team members.

Developing these skills can lead to a more harmonious workplace and improve the supervisor’s ability to manage relationships in all areas of life. Emotional intelligence is a key component of effective leadership and personal development.


Offering a Path to Career Advancement

Being a supervisor is often a stepping stone to higher-level management positions. It allows individuals to demonstrate their capability to lead, make decisions, and contribute to the success of the organization.

Excelling in a supervisory role can open up opportunities for further career advancement. For example, a member of upper management may resign or retire. When that vacancy opens up, the supervisor may be considered as a replacement. The experience and skills gained as a supervisor are foundational for anyone looking to climb the career ladder in their field.


Practice and Build Problem Solving Skills

For supervisors, problem-solving is a fundamental skill. It is one of the qualities that good supervisors possess. For many types of businesses, solving the problems of their team or business is something that happens several times per day. Supervisors using the position as a stepping stone to higher leadership in the future, can use the current position to practice and hone this skill.

One of the keys to operational efficiency is the ability to quickly resolve problems that come up. Supervisors frequently encounter challenges that can disrupt workflow. It can be something like technical glitches or a process inefficiency. If a supervisor can solve these problems effectively, it will ensure that those issues are addressed swiftly and competently.


Providing a Sense of Accomplishment

Sometimes one of the best parts about any job is knowing that you have accomplished your goals and are good at what you do. While the supervisor position is challenging, there often comes a sense of accomplishment when you have accomplished the goals that you have set for yourself.

One of the most rewarding aspects of any job is achieving your goals and excelling in your tasks. Despite its challenges, the supervisor role brings a significant sense of fulfillment from meeting set objectives. It boosts confidence and encourages continued personal and professional development.



Disadvantages of Being a Supervisor

Limited Authority with High Accountability

When you think about it, the supervisor position can be an awkward one. They are often accountable for their team’s outcome. However, they don’t always have the authority to make important decisions that affect those outcomes. Having limited authority with high accountability can be frustrating for many supervisors.

Entrepreneurs, business owners, and even managers usually have more control over things like resources. They may also have the capabilities and authority to adjust budgets or strategies. Comparatively, a supervisor may have specific goals that require an adjustment in the budget.

While they may be able to request financial allocations that will help them succeed, if those requests are denied, they have to find a way to still meet department objectives. 


Increased Responsibility and Stress

One of the main disadvantages of being a supervisor is the significant increase in responsibility. Going from staff member to supervisor can lead to higher levels of stress. Supervisors are accountable not only for their performance but also for the performance of their team.

They must navigate the pressures of meeting targets, resolving conflicts, and making tough decisions, all of which can contribute to a stressful work environment. Balancing these responsibilities while maintaining personal well-being can be challenging for many supervisors. 


Difficulty in Maintaining Work-Life Balance

The role of a supervisor often demands long hours. This may include sometimes working evenings, weekends, and holidays to meet deadlines or address urgent issues. This can make it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance, The constant juggling between professional responsibilities and personal life can strain relationships and impact overall quality of life, making it a significant drawback of the supervisory position.

Because of their position, they may not have the support staff available to allow them to work less to avoid burnout. In fact, working too much that leads to burnout is one of the most common mistakes new supervisors make. Supervisors need to prioritize self-care and make use of time off. The good news is that most supervisor positions are hourly and not salary.

The reason why this is good news is that, according to Pew Research, salaried workers are more likely than hourly workers to take less paid time off than their employer offers (52% vs. 39%). This means there is no reason why a supervisor can’t take some time off to rest and recover from the stressors of their jobs.


Being the Middleman

Earlier, I mentioned that the supervisor position can be difficult due to the amount of accountability required and the limitation on authority. Another similar disadvantage of being a supervisor is the position places you in the middle between the team and higher management. This role requires them to communicate and implement decisions from upper management that may be unpopular with their team.

At the same time, they must represent their team’s interests and concerns to the higher management. Balancing these dual loyalties can be difficult and may place supervisors in uncomfortable or conflict-ridden situations. This is often one of the reasons why some supervisors hate their positions.

The way around this is to understand your limitations and try not to do too much for either side of the ladder. Learn to set boundaries and enforce those boundaries for both the higher-ups and the team you are leading.


Handling Performance Reviews and Disciplinary Actions

For supervisors, one of the biggest challenges is performing reviews and taking disciplinary actions. This is especially difficult for first-time supervisors who have never performed a review before.

However, these are key parts of a supervisor’s role. Reviews and disciplinary actions can be uncomfortable. Most of the time the most challenging aspect is when the supervisor is dealing with underperforming employees or one with behavioral issues. The responsibility of providing constructive feedback, while necessary, can strain relationships and create a tense environment.


Pressure to Perform

As leaders of their team, supervisors are under constant pressure to perform and to drive their team to achieve targets. This pressure can come from higher management, stakeholders, or even self-imposed expectations. Living under constant pressure to deliver results can be taxing on a supervisor’s mental and emotional well-being, contributing to stress and anxiety.



There is no such thing as a perfect job. That includes a position like a supervisor. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of being a supervisor will give you a better idea of what to expect before taking the position. It will also make it easier to deal with, and take advantage of, the aspects that come with the position.

Thomas Martin
Tom is a member of the Editorial Team at StartUp Mindset. He has over 6 years of experience with writing on business, entrepreneurship, and other topics. He mainly focuses on online businesses, digital publishing, marketing and eCommerce startups.

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Find Your Way · Grow Your Business · Leading Your Team · Productivity · Your Mindset

Tom is a member of the Editorial Team at StartUp Mindset. He has over 6 years of experience with writing on business, entrepreneurship, and other topics. He mainly focuses on online businesses, digital publishing, marketing and eCommerce startups.

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