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Supervising “Problem” Employee in Education Setting


Supervising workers in an education setting face many problems. The main challenges and problems include tardiness and absenteeism, use of drugs and alcohol abuse in the work place, insubordination, theft, misunderstandings, and confrontations. The supervising process becomes difficult, particularly when dealing with people, who have different perceptions, opinions and attitudes towards various key issues. When people fail to agree on procedures, policies and guidelines, conflict arises resulting in too overwhelming supervision responsibilities.

Work Related Violence

Causes of violence by employees are many and may include dealing with employees, who are drug addicts, employees working under stress from the workplace, as well as those employees, who have psychological problems. Such employees normally engage in violence activities when provoked, and it becomes hard to deal with them. Their problems obviously affect their performance and that of the entire organization since they could incite others or even instill a fear in other employees, consequently, spoiling the working environment (Certo, 2013).


The employee’s theft is another major supervising problem faced in an education setting. Although organization makes a lot of efforts to curb the internal theft, statistics indicate that at least its workers organize 47 percent of these cases. However, identifying people with an ill motive is difficult to supervisors and the management team. Many organizations recorded a retarded growth because of the developed theft culture by workers, which discourages the growth and development (Cassidy & Kreitner, 2009).

Every organization must strive to eliminate theft-minded people through the introduction of systems that facilitate timely reconciliations and accountability. This may include surveillance, process monitoring, movement restrictions, alarm systems and staff training. It is crucial to note that not all theft cases that involve tangible goods or money. Supervisors should be aware that when workers waste the organization’s time and resources, that should be considered as theft. It is difficult to determine who have not utilized their time in an effective manner. However, a supervisor should develop an effective mechanism to facilitate the process. For instance, to evaluate the performance of a teacher, one can use the student’s exam performance as a measure of the time utilization. A poor performance is an indication that the teacher did not use his or her time in teaching crucial concepts in class. On the other hand, a good performance is a confirmation of time being well spent (Certo, 2013).

Theft of the information is another supervision challenge in an education setting. In learning institutions, the information is a crucial component to success. Supervisors face problems communicating to individuals, who have difficulties listening and following instruction. These people frequently commit mistakes, which can be eliminated through understanding instructions. Some workers have difficulties in teaming-up with their workmates in order to influence better results. They always complain about bad conditions in an organization and aim at challenging their supervisors. In some extreme situations, they question the roles of their supervisors, where they focus on disorienting the attitude of their fellow workers. In an effective system, supervisors must point out such characters amongst their team. Supervising employees is a major problem even for those managers with a considerable experience. Variations in the work ethics and personalities affect the workers’ performance and interactions. In order to reduce this problem, a supervisor must identify the causes of the problem in every situation. They must learn to set clear requirements and expectations, concerning their performance, attitude and behavior (Cassidy & Kreitner, 2009).

Alcohol and Drug Abuse

The Americans with Disabilities Act treats the abuse of substances, such as alcohol, emerging from the addiction to them as a disability. The Act states that workers should not be fired because of the drugs abuse, but instead should be assisted in changing their behavior. Although it is difficult to influence workers to change their lifestyle, a supervisor has a role to play in molding the behaviors of workers. He or she must influence their attitude towards the work and their personal life. The problem of influencing workers behaviors becomes difficult, because the supervisor has to treat all the workers in a fair manner and avoid the discrimination. People under the influence of substances sometimes become violent, making the role of a supervisor regarding a safe environment quite difficult. Controlling such people is a challenge to supervisor, particularly in an education setting. The information released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that at least two million incidents related to violence occur every year. Most of the workers, who are involved in violence, are those with psychological problems or those, who are under the influence of alcohol (Cassidy & Kreitner, 2009).

It becomes a problem to a supervisor, when workers have a feeling that they are being treated in an unfair manner. It can become if the supervisor does not provide an environment that encourages workers to communicate freely. The effective communication creates a room for people to negotiate and raise their opinions and feelings towards their environment. In addition, frequent meeting with workers helps a supervisor in solving of many issues through discussions (Cassidy & Kreitner, 2009).

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is most of the time related to workplace violence. In cases, where teacher is abused by the parent or spouse, there are chances of transferring the violence to students. Controlling such a teacher is a problem for the head teacher. Such a teacher may not concentrate on classroom activities particular if he or she has flashbacks of an unpleasant event. In case the teacher receives threatening disruptive visits or calls from the abuser, his or her teaching program may be disoriented by such overwhelming threats. Domestic violence is blamed for millions of absent days in every year. This accounts for the lost time, which should have been spent on teaching. This violence affects the performance of every student and eventually affects the school performance. A supervisor in an education setting should be well placed to interpolate signs among workers related to domestic violence. Some of the signs include a worker frequently reported under the influence of substances, intimidated others in the past, poor anger control, like joking about violence in the work place, and shows off weapons. In addition, if an employee frequently complains that he or she is feeling threatened, the supervisor must consider such concerns in a serious manner (Lewis, Packard & Lewis, 2011).


A supervisor faces some problems in terms of counseling workers, who are resistant to change, and those, who do not want to be counseled. The supervisor has a role to counsel workers whether they support the process or not. The supervisor must take his or her time to understand the employee to a level, at which delivering the effective counseling is possible. In most cases, a supervisor will be presented with various issues such as domestic violence, marriage worries, teaching issues, and discipline deterioration among students. This means that the supervisor must have considerable skills and knowledge to handle a wide range of issues (Paris, 2010).

It is crucial to note that problems of workers in their places of work and at home affect their work performance. This means that a supervisor must make an effort to resolve them in order to enhance the employees’ performance. It becomes a problem, when a supervisor is not able to solve issues arising in his department, particularly due to the lack of the adequate knowledge. In case he or she is not qualified to solve the problem, the supervisor should indicate a concern through listening and referring the employee to a professional (Lewis, Packard & Lewis, 2011).


An employee, who fails to report to work either fully or partly, is considered as an expensive one. This is because the organization will have to pay for the unproductive hours. For instance, an employee, who spends a whole month away for a sick leave, is still paid. During that month, the employee does not generate any benefit to the employer, which means that he can be categorized as an expense to the organization. Absenteeism bears many disadvantages to an organization, including the reducing productivity, morale, and encourages the work disorientation. This problem generates the increased work overload to workers, who are left in an effort to cover the missing workers. This reduces their motivation and attitude towards work. In some cases, overworked workers develop a negative perception towards the management team. This encourages development of a change resistant culture, where workers tend to reject any effort made by the management, supervisor included (Carelli, 2010).

Ethical Issues

On the other hand, it is not ethical to force sick people to remain in the work places. An organization must provide sick-offs to its employees, who are not in a position to work due to ailment. According to the recent research, absenteeism is linked to physical health stressors such as a diagnosis with chronic conditions, heart conditions, or hospitalized. However, psychological health stressors, such as anxiety and depression, do not have any link with absenteeism.

In order to overcome the supervising “problem”, it is essential to determine the cause. How effective the cause is eliminated determines the extent, to which the solution is obtained. For instance, failing to report to work is an indication of a bigger problem that requires a managerial effort to resolve. Some of the contributing factors include anger, family crisis, or maybe plans to move to another organization. It is notable that cases of absenteeism are considerably high in institutions, where the level of morale is low. An employer has an obligation of helping employees in managing their personal needs through the development of programs such as paid days off (Certo, 2013).

In an education setting, a supervisor must consider all the employees based on their background, cultural values and level of understanding. He or she must also aim at understanding workers based on their performance level, responsibility and dedication. In an effective system, workers should be provided with favorable conditions that encourage creativity, innovation and teamwork. Through this, workers require a minimum supervision to deliver expected results, even in a challenging environment (Carelli, 2010).

A knowledgeable supervisor should train his or her workers to make the right decision and learn to develop initiative traits. This reduces the burden of having to give the instruction to every worker in almost every minute. In routine work, an employee acclimatizes with the job requirement, thereby, improving their performance. In such an environment, they become leaders of the new employees. This reduces the need of conducting the expensive orientation program to the newly employed worker. On-job training is beneficial, because workers learn as they work for the benefit of their employer. Insubordination is another key problem in the supervision process, particularly in an in an education setting (Certo, 2013).

A poor performance is most of the time contributed by the lack of an adequate understanding of the job requirements. Through the effective supervision, instructions are communicated in an effective manner. This creates a room for understanding, which enhances the productivity and workers’ morale. A supervisor should strive to understand the training needs among his team. A limited performance in an education setting translates to the insufficient competence. This means that workers, who are affected, should be taken through a form of training to boost the quality of their services to the organization (Certo, 2013).


Insubordination arises when an employee deliberately fails to deliver according to the policies or procedures set by the organization. This may form various categories such as complaining, criticizing or dislike to the organization or the management team. An employee with such negative behaviors may waste time in an unproductive argument over issues, which are not quite necessary. He or she might waste the organization’s time just moving around, joking or socializing with friends. In order to overcome such a challenge, the supervisor must apply his leadership skills to fix the problem. The main challenge would be the resistance from the affected people. However, the supervisor must develop methods of handling the issue through defining specific limits as well as requiring the employee follow the stated rules. For a supervisor to solve difficult issues, it is sometimes crucial to discipline the affected groups. With the purpose of facilitating this process, the supervisor must learn to differentiate between people based on their performance and value to the organization. This should include identifying individuals, who can work without supervision, and those, who require a moderate and high levels of supervision (Certo, 2013).


A supervisor faces various problems, while maintaining the acceptable level of discipline among his workers. During the process of discipline administration, the supervisor is obliged to distinguish between the punishment and discipline. In some cases, the supervisor may face problems in applying the organization’s policies together with those of the unions. This arises when the union gives policies that contradict those of the organization. In order to manage this effectively, a supervisor must strive to understand all the applicable rules and policies. He or she must inform workers about what is expected of them and the consequences of their behaviors. If a supervisor poses some disciplinary actions, which are not based on facts to an employee, then the employee has a right to appeal the disciplinary action. The supervisor may face problems in case such an employee questions the management’s statement or if he presents a defense.

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