Supervisory Skills: One Key to Workplace Success

We’ve just completed work on a supervisory skills framework and training guide for the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table. We’ve previously supported many organizations to develop their managers and leaders, and supervisors have a crucial liaison role to play – communicating management expectations to front-line employees and also communicating worker needs and concerns to the management team. Almost every measure of organizational success can be linked to good supervisors – they influence productivity, retention, employee engagement, workplace safety, income, and expenses.
In our research to populate a competency framework for supervisors, the skills clustered into 3 distinct areas – personal management, people management, and process management. Our research reinforced what we’ve experienced firsthand – good supervisors have their own “stuff” under control (i.e., they’re organized, productive, and have good communication skills – quite apart from their role as a supervisor). Some people that are good at managing themselves also have the interpersonal and people management skills to help others work well, too. With the first two competency areas under control, supervisors also need to oversee policies and procedures that contribute to safety, productivity, quality, and the ultimate success of their projects.
In mapping supervisory skills training across BC, we found countless workshops and courses that developed relevant skills – some embedded within sector-specific supervisory training programs and others available as stand-alone options. However, there wasn’t a simple “one stop shop” for supervisory training – an issue that’s been raised before in many other sectors.
If you’re in a role that involves supervising others, how did you learn how to do that? If your responsibility, instead, is to develop supervisors within your own organization, what resources are available to help them identify the competencies they need to do their jobs well? If gaps are identified, where and how can they learn?
Our own sector, career and employment services, is going through a transformational change at the moment. Within the next few months announcements will be made about which organizations will hold the contracts for government-funded employment services within BC. Many of the new centres will be larger than before, requiring a different level of supervisory competency. If you’ll be tasked with a supervisory / management role, are you ready? If not, we’re happy to chat with you about your needs and may be able to point you in the direction of some relevant training. Our book, Leadership Lessons for Transformational Times is a quick read that provides practical tips, too.
Originally posted September 13, 2011 by Roberta Neault

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