Supervisory Power

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Interpersonal relations at work (and away, too) serve a critical role in the development and maintenance of trust and positive feelings in a farm organization. Although the quality of interpersonal relationships alone is not enough to produce worker productivity, it can significantly contribute to it.

An effective supervisor needs to abstain from showing favoritism; make difficult, sometimes unpopular, decisions; show concern for subordinates without appearing to pry; and avoid misusing supervisorial power.

In fulfilling responsibilities, supervisors need to strike the right note in their interpersonal relations with workers. New supervisors, especially those who have moved up through the ranks, are often counseled to keep a healthy distance from workers. Supervisors must be approachable and friendly, yet fair and firm. A good sense of humor also helps.

In this chapter we look at basic concepts of human interaction as they affect workers in general and supervisors in particular. At times individual and cultural differences may complicate working relations. Supervisors may be called on to listen to employees and give advice. (Although much of the discussion here is in the context of farm supervision, farm family members are also called to listen to each other.)

Gregorio Billikopf
University of California