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Even though you were certified for certain things within the electrical field in your job, what did supervision look like before you were officially working on tasks alone?

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G. Mark’s Answer

There were generally two types of supervision I've encountered. First was the supervision that was very hands-on and involved in what you did. This was great for new employees and small teams. The other was the supervision that was truly involved primarily in management issues, and they needed you to just take care of business yourself and tell them only if you needed them to intervene.

These two management styles are both valuable and necessary. You need to be aware of management's expectations and needs from you as well as the other way around.

A good thing to keep in mind is that management is not necessarily a two-tier situation -- you and the boss. Sometimes, depending on situations, it may be valuable for you to be a mentor or sub-supervisor or organizer or whatever you want to call it. You should try to run interference to shield your management from having to do too much meddling or putting out fires, so work with other team members to help them. You may need the same from them at any time.

One thing I've been bitten by is a drive to shield management too much. Not keeping an open channel of communication can cause them to be isolated and not informed of crises soon enough. The drive to be self-sufficient can sometimes devolve to being isolated and being a weak spot in the team. So strive to inform when necessary, ask for feedback when possible, take care of problems when practical. Keeping communication open but not overwhelming or a source of too much overhead is a good idea.

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Douglas’s Answer

When I started out in Engineering (after4 years of college and about a year of specialized training: classroom and hands-on), I was assigned to a senior engineer who would give me specific tasks which I would work on using him as a resource if I had questions. Gradually, I was given more complicated tasks and once again using him as a resource. After several months, I was given small jobs to do on my own with no direct supervision. As I gained experience, I was given bigger and longer jobs to complete. After about 3 years, I was working on fairly large projects, sometimes by myself and at other times as a part of a larger team, led by a senior engineer where each of us had a different, defined set of tasks to do. It was always my, and my manager's goal, to get me widely experienced (through training and varied work assignments) so that I could work independently as soon as possible. Working in Power generation on varied and sophisticated equipment it took about 4+ years to be considered qualified to work independently on a large range of equipment.

Hope this helps,