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Purpose and Objectives
Equipment and Materials
Policy Components
current selection is Supervisor's Role and Responsibilities
Crisis Situations
Problem Recognition
On-the-Job Indicators
Intervention and Referral
Confidentiality
Continuing Supervision
Supervisory Traps
Presentation Materials

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy
Drug-Free Workplace Advisor
Supervisor Training

Supervisor’s Role and Responsibilities

The role of the supervisor is traditionally a difficult one. You must fulfill various responsibilities to your employees, work group and organization. You also are responsible for ensuring the work is carried out in such a way that no one’s security, safety or health is jeopardized.

As a supervisor, you have the day-to-day responsibility for what goes on in the workplace. Therefore, you play a critical role in supporting the drug-free workplace program and enforcing the policy. However, you are not expected to perform the role of police officer or counselor. Your primary role is as an observer. You watch the employees’ job performance to ensure that all necessary tasks are completed in accordance with specifications and deadlines.

In your supervisory capacity you are responsible for seeing that the work of your staff meets established performance standards. Your supervisory role is clear. When an employee begins to show a consistent pattern of problem behavior, you must take action. Focusing on job performance, even when you think the problem may be caused by substance abuse, allows you to balance:

  • The rights of the individual employee to privacy and fair treatment; and
  • The rights of the work group to a safe, secure and productive environment.
It is important to be consistent with all employees. Don’t play favorites and do be fair when evaluating situations and employees. As a supervisor, you should establish levels of performance expected from all employees. What is acceptable? What is not? You should make clear to employees exactly what is expected of them.