Inspectioneering Journal

The Changing Role of the Unit Inspector

By Marc McConnell, P.E., Metallurgy and Fixed Equipment Engineering Coordinator at Pro-Surve Technical Services, David Jordan, Chief Inspector at CVR Energy, and Grady Hatton, Operations Manager at Versa Integrity Group. This article appears in the July/August 2014 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

Let’s imagine that you have just been hired or promoted to be an inspector for your organization.  If you did not realize it yet, you are now a manager of people.  Like most new managers, you were selected because of your strong performance in your previous role, but have very little, if any, management training.  You will likely have many lessons to learn as you transition into this new role.  Welcome to the world of management.  Instead of being one of us, you are now one of them, but as a newly appointed member of them, you may have questions about what your new role entails.

One difficulty new company inspectors typically have is becoming comfortable in their new role.  This is due to the fact that they have received little guidance about where they fit in with the “team.”  Where are they on the organization chart?  They know who they report to, but may not know what decisions are theirs to make and exactly what they are expected to bring to the team.  Remember that this new inspector may have been taking direction yesterday and is now expected to give direction tomorrow.

The transition from us to them can be a tricky thing.  You are no longer just responsible for completing work that was delegated to you.  You now have to hold others accountable for completing their work, and the leadership team expects you to understand and uphold the company’s goals, priorities, and long-term vision.  The people who work under you expect you to make sure their work environment is safe, productive, fair, and reasonably comfortable.  You are now responsible for a team.

You must make sure that your team continues to function correctly, and completes quality work on schedule.  You must pay attention to interpersonal dynamics that, if ignored, could be counterproductive to getting the job done.  You are no longer able to consider helping with a problem that is not normally in your job description as "going above and beyond."  It is now your job to make sure that your unit and your team is successful, no matter what roadblocks you may encounter.  It can be overwhelming, whether you are making the transition within a place you have worked for years or starting fresh at a new organization.

In addition to these management skills, you are now also seen as the subject matter expert (SME) concerning all aspects of your responsibilities.  Use every tool at your disposal to gain the knowledge you will need to succeed in your new role.  Your success during this transition will be a strong indicator of how successful you will be in your career as you move forward.  But take heart; it is still just another day in the office, and there are many things you can do to make the transition easier if you are willing to watch, listen, and learn.

This content is available to registered users and subscribers

Register today to unlock this article for free.

Create your free account and get access to:

  • Unlock one premium article of your choosing per month
  • Exclusive online content, videos, and downloads
  • Insightful and actionable webinars
Interested in unlimited access? VIEW OUR SUBSCRIPTION OPTIONS

Current subscribers and registered users can log in now.

Comments and Discussion

Posted by Patrick Brady on September 16, 2014
Very well said. Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Carl Fuchs III on April 18, 2024
Great read! Perfect for all inspectors no matter... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Add a Comment

Please log in or register to participate in comments and discussions.

Inspectioneering Journal

Explore over 20 years of articles written by our team of subject matter experts.

Company Directory

Find relevant products, services, and technologies.

Training Solutions

Improve your skills in key mechanical integrity subjects.

Case Studies

Learn from the experience of others in the industry.


Inspectioneering's index of mechanical integrity topics – built by you.

Industry News

Stay up-to-date with the latest inspection and asset integrity management news.


Read short articles and insights authored by industry experts.

Expert Interviews

Inspectioneering's archive of interviews with industry subject matter experts.

Event Calendar

Find upcoming conferences, training sessions, online events, and more.


Downloadable eBooks, Asset Intelligence Reports, checklists, white papers, and more.

Videos & Webinars

Watch educational and informative videos directly related to your profession.


Commonly used asset integrity management and inspection acronyms.