This article is part 3 of making the move from front-line janitor to supervisor.

Onsite supervision is the most important function within any custodial contract. Too often, the front-line supervisor’s role is taken for granted by management who can be detached from the day-to-day challenges faced at some sites. This can result in frustration, decline in morale and lost opportunities for growth and advancement.

The front-line supervisor provides a level of management and support that oftentimes determines the success or failure of a contract. This is primarily due to the supervisor’s day-to-day involvement in operations as well their ability to interact with both the front-line workers, lead workers, floor techs, tenants, customers and owners/property managers.

The front-line supervisor makes day-to-day and minute-by-minute decisions that affect outcomes, productivity, staffing, scheduling and quality control so that each day the customer is satisfied, workers are utilized effectively, and upper management knows what is happening at the site without having to be physically present. With today’s technology, managing custodial contracts has gone to a new level and the well-trained and fully supported supervisor continues to play a key role.

Anyone wishing to become a successful supervisor needs to commit to learning new concepts and improving on old ones so that they truly are SME (Subject Matter Experts) in one or more areas. This does not mean they have to know everything about everything, but they can, over time, increase their knowledge base and experience if they are committed to learning more day by day.

In my experience the successes and failures in custodial operations over the years were directly related to the onsite supervisor’s ability (or inability) to manage the contract. Yes, you are very important. Your comments and questions are important.

I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or