individuals should not be supervisors. To be a successful
supervisor, you must be able to train and develop others.
Good supervisors have a quiet confidence (not an
arrogant or cocky manner) based on thorough
knowledge of the job and belief in their own ability.
Confidence begets confidence. It is amazing to see how
people will follow individuals who are charged with
confidence in themselves and an idea. Mousy, hesitant
supervisors who lack confidence in themselves cannot
inspire confidence in others. On the other hand, beware
of arrogance. Some supervisors put on a front of
aggressive confidence to hide a feeling of inferiority.
They ridicule the opinions of others; they dominate
conversations; they are arrogant. Such individuals are
much less effective than they think they are.
Supervisors who have a quiet inner confidence,
which is expressed in their confident manner, their
actions, and their words, are respected and followed.
One of the major problems you may encounter as a
new supervisor is that of maintaining discipline in your
crew. The following discussion provides some pointers
to help you achieve success in maintaining discipline.
A good supervisor gives much thought to the art of
giving orders. Notice we said art, for giving orders
really is an art that you must practice. Proficiency in
giving orders will reap you many benefits; and since
most disciplinary problems are the result of individuals
not carrying out orders, this subject cannot be
overemphasized. There are three basic types of orders:
1. The command
2. The request
3. The suggestion
You should always consider (1) the situation under
which you will give the order and (2) the individual who
is to carry out the order. In the following paragraphs, we
discuss the three types of orders, based on each of these
In a military formation, the direct command, or
formal type of order, is always used. The direct
command is also used when there is immediate danger,
fire, an accident or other emergency, disobedience of
safety rules, and so forth.
The simple request is the best type of order to give
for daily routine work. The request is used for most
orders given by good supervisors.
The suggestion is excellent when you wish
individuals to proceed on their own when you do not
know exactly how the job should be done. It is also
excellent for building initiative. This method of giving
orders builds morale and shows your personnel that you
have confidence in them. However, it is not clear cut,
and you certainly would have no recourse if the job were
not done properly.
The direct command is normally used to direct
careless, lazy, insubordinate, or thick-skinned
individuals. Except in the unusual situations mentioned
above, the direct command is normally reserved for
those to whom we must speak firmly and positively.
The request is by far the best type of order to use
with the normal individual. With most people, a simple
request in the form of a question has the full effect of a
direct order. Moreover, the request fosters a feeling of
cooperative effort and teamwork.
The suggestion is excellent for those to whom a
suggestion or hint is sufficient. People with real
initiative like to work on their own. In dealing with a
sensitive, highly intelligent individual, a mere hint that
something is desired is enough to get a project started.
Toss this person an idea by saying something like, Petty
Officer Jones, I wonder if it would be a good idea to do
this? or Seaman Smith, do you have any ideas on how
this can be done? This makes the individual a key
person in the project and provides a feeling of
importance. It also shows that you have Cofidence in
this individual and provides excellent training. The
suggestion type of order stimulates people to show what
can be done.
Although the situation and the individual are the
prime considerations in giving orders, the attitude and
tone of voice in which they are given are very important.
Whenever you give orders, apply the five Cs Clearly,
Completely, Concisely, Confidently, and Correctly.
Also, avoid orders that are unnecessary and unneeded.