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Operations supervisors oversee all activity of a specific department or area in a company. They observe and analyze overall efficacy of the department and ensure things are moving smoothly. They also report their findings to upper management as needed. Operations supervisors report directly to the director of the department they supervise. They work full-time hours and may need to work overtime as needed to ensure their department hits previously-set goals. Operations supervisors may work in any number of different settings, depending on the industry in which they work.

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Operations Supervisor Duties and Responsibilities

The specific duties and responsibilities of operations supervisors may vary widely depending on the company for which they work. We analyzed recent job postings to compile the follwing core tasks required of operations supervisors regardless of the industry or company:

Supervise Employees

Operations supervisors are responsible for leading and supervising a group of employees. The number of employees depends on the department, but operations supervisors should be able to adjust their supervision style based on how many employees they have in their department.

Evaluate Employee Performance

After supervising employees, operations supervisors are responsible for evaluating their performance and delivering feedback, positive or critical, depending on the employee and the situation.

Report on Department Metrics

Operations supervisors report on department metrics to department directors and other upper management. They also develop strategies and methods to increase metrics and performance.

Perform Department Administration

When they aren't managing employees or reporting on department performance, operations supervisors are handling other administrative tasks. These can include planning the department budget, overseeing inventory, or even motivating employees.

Provide Advanced Customer Support

Operations supervisors are responsible for elevated customer support for the customers who have requested to speak to managers or someone with more authority. They find solutions for the customers who feel like they have no other options.

Operations Supervisor Skills and Qualifications

Operations supervisors are able to see the big picture and can formulate overarching strategies to improve departmental performance. This includes helping individual employees succeed at their own professional goals. Employers tend to hire operations supervisors who have direct experience in the department that they will supervise. Some employers may also only consider candidates who possess education in business administration. Successful operations supervisors also demonstrate their ability with these skills and qualifications:

  • Team Leadership Experience - Successful operations supervisor candidates have demonstrated experience in leading a team. This doesn't necessarily need to come from a supervisor position but may be demonstrated in the form of leading a project with fellow co-workers
  • Administrative Management - Operations supervisors are familiar with managing the administrative aspects of a department. They know how to create budgets and analyze performance
  • Project Management - Operations supervisors know how projects start and end, and they know how to ensure projects are completed successfully and in a timely manner
  • Interpersonal Communication Skills - As a team manager, operations supervisors communicate their desires and feedback in an efficient way. This may take the form of verbal and written communication
  • Problem-Solving Skills - Operations supervisors are often presented with problems and expected to fix them using solutions of their own making. As such, successful candidates should be comfortable with thinking of creative solutions to both simple and difficult problems

Tools of the Trade

Successful operations supervisors are adept in an office setting and use:

Department and Industry-Specific Tools

Performance Management Software – (Namely, ClearCompany, Employee Engagement)

Microsoft Office Suite

Operations Supervisor Education and Training

When searching for a new operations supervisor, employers mainly look for candidates who have direct experience in the department where the role will be filled. Ultimately, there are typically no formal education requirements for operations supervisors other than a high school diploma or GED. However, some employers may want to see candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, but this happens infrequently and those requirements will be listed clearly in the job posting.

Operations supervisors may need to go through additional training, but the assumption is that most candidates will know a lot about the job specifics since they’ve worked in that department or similar departments in the past.

Operations Supervisor Salary and Outlook

PayScale lists the operations supervisor’s annual median salary at $54,592, although this salary can vary greatly depending on industry and experience. Operations supervisors with more experience are usually in the top 10 percent of earners and can make as much as $81,000 per year. Those with little experience can expect to earn as little as $38,278 per year. Operations supervisors can also expect to receive decent healthcare benefits, along with a good amount of sick and vacation days, depending on company policy.

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Helpful Resources

Read through some of these helpful resources to learn more about becoming an operations supervisor and how to succeed in this role:


This is a blog about leadership, influence, hiring, and management. You can find a ton of information about being a good leader on this blog written by a manager. Blog articles touch on topics such as team engagement, employee inspiration, goal planning, and more. This is a great place to learn about being an operations supervisor from someone who's doing something similar.

Great Leadership by Dan

This blog has been ranked as one of the Top 100 leadership and influence blogs, among other awards. This isn't the most modernlooking website, but it contains cuttingedge articles about becoming a great leader. This blog post is updated regularly and features guests posts from successful and prominent leaders in the industry.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

This bestselling book from author Daniel H. Pink focuses on people's motivation and examines the disparity between the ideas science and business hold about it. The book discusses autonomy, master, and purpose and how you can apply them to your own personal motivation.

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

This book by Michel Bungay Stanier aims to teach you how to coach your employees more effectively so that you can work less hard and have more overall impact on your department's performance. The author takes you through several different kinds of coaching questions you can ask your employees and the different results you can expect from those questions.

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