Mail superintendents are the head of a postal service. They carry out functions such as directing and coordinating the operational activities within the postal service. Their role also requires that they oversee the administrative, management and supportive services within the postal services system of their state or country. They are responsible for coordinating workers' activities within an assigned post office, and seeing to the overall smooth operation of the entity.
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Individuals in this profession wear many hats as this is a multi-functional career. They are charged with the duty of overseeing all the workers in the postal system to which they are assigned. This includes preparing their work schedules as well as hiring and training employees, and evaluating their performance. His or her duties are also extended to customers as they will have to handle customer complaints and try to find an amicable solution to these issues.
Mail superintendents have to supervise the processing of pieces of mail that come in and those that leave the post office (incoming and outgoing mail). He or she will need to maintain proper records of the activities within the post office as they will need to submit detailed and summary reports to their designated supervisors. As is the nature of any workplace, there may be instances when there is labor unrest. The superintendent will need to be proactive and sometimes become the negotiator in these labor disputes. If this is to be an effective part of his or her role, the superintendent must be able to command the respect of fellow employees as well as gain their trust.
The public plays a vital role in the daily operations of the post office as they are the ones being served. The superintendent will need to be mindful of this and ensure that customers are provided with quality service. The Superintendent must ensure that there are measures in place to educate the public about the postal laws and regulations.
The post office rents parts of its property, namely mail boxes, and the collection of the rent payment falls to the Mail superintendents. They will also need to liaise with suppliers to obtain bids for forecasted purchases, make requisitions and make the necessary payments. Another part of their duty is to issue, and cash money orders as well as bring to the public's attention services that are available to them. As a means of maintaining structure, order and promoting continuance in the workplace, the superintendent will need to select and train qualified individuals to serve as postmasters and managers for affiliated postal units.
Overall, the responsibilities that come with this job are pretty much the same as those of a CEO. The individual who aspires to fill the role of a Mail superintendent must view his or her role as if they were operating a business.
Qualifying for the post of mail superintendent in the U.S. involves the sitting of a written exam. Individuals applying to work at the entry level will be listed according to their scores and those with the top three scores will head the list. When a post becomes vacant, one of the top three applicants will be contacted to fill that spot. The other applicants from the list will remain eligible for two years before their application expires. Veterans who were honourably discharged are given bonus points. The post can sometimes be filled by an experienced postal worker who has progressed throughout the various ranks of the system. In Canada the requirements are a high school diploma or provincial equivalent. Interested parties may also be required to have experience in business administration.
A managerial post naturally requires that the individual have some level of competence in certain areas of business and management. Administration and management is a key aspect of the job. These superintendents will need to be equipped with the knowledge of certain business principles that include strategic planning and human resource management to name a few.
Customer care and personal service are also key components of good managerial skills that a leader should possess. Other qualifying attributes for the post include knowledge of production and processing as well as public safety and security.
As is the case with every job, there are certain non-academic skills that an individual should possess if they are to function well in that career. As a leader he or she should be able to think critically, be an active listener, be able to communicate effectively, be socially perceptive and have good time management skills.
Mail superintendents are at the top level of the postal service which means that there is no other level to which they can advance. However, those working as the head of small-to medium-sized post offices can go on to manage a larger facility.