Course Outcomes

This supervision skills course for new supervisors and managers will:

  • Outline what effective supervision is and is not.
  • Provide an opportunity for managers to articulate their values, management style, and expectations.
  • Allow participants time to practice such essential skills as goal setting, delegating, coaching, and counseling.
  • Introduce techniques for managing change and planning for the future.

Course Overview

Management Essentials: Skills for Supervising Others is composed of four half-day training sessions designed as standalone modules. While they work best when taught in sequence, one session is not a prerequisite for another. The course covers four distinct areas: making the transition from individual contributor to management, encouraging ownership and holding people accountable, coaching employees to reach their potential, and addressing performance problems and managing workplace change. 

This program is ideally suited for organizations that want to offer ongoing management training. The recommended time between sessions is three to four weeks.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

Day One: Making the Transition and Crafting a Plan

People who are first-rate individual contributors often struggle when they are asked to supervise others. This half-day program module focuses on tactics for easing the transition and creating processes and systems for managing work.

Session Objectives

At this session’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the role of a supervisor and how it differs from an individual contributor’s responsibilities.
  • Identify the characteristics strong supervisors share.
  • Explain their expectations and management style.
  • Make time to supervise others and plan regular communication.
  • Communicate priorities to a team.
  • Perform regular self-evaluation and solicit feedback.

Apples and Oranges: What’s Different About Management

This session opens with a round-robin discussion. During this part of the program, participants will explain how a supervisor’s role differs from the job of an individual contributor and the challenges people often encounter when moving from one role to another. 

Navigating Change: Working Through Transition

In this workshop component, we’ll look at the transitions new supervisors go through and the feeling of adjustment direct reports often experience when a new supervisor assumes a management role. To reinforce learning points, participants will play a card game that explores the importance of managing transitions and what can happen when people simply make assumptions when taking on a leadership role. Following that exercise, we will address the challenges participants articulated in the previous module.

Looking and Sounding the Part: Assuming the Role

This portion of the course builds on the previous discussion. In this seminar module, we’ll consider what successful managers do and say. Working in teams, group members will create a “super supervisor” character. They will identify specific behaviors their characters exhibit and why those behaviors build credibility. Next, we will introduce the five actions we will explore during the remainder of the session: establishing a supervision philosophy, setting standards, establishing routines, communicating priorities and values, and learning from past experiences. 

You Can’t Work What You Don’t Have: Making a Plan

It’s hard to supervise others if you don’t understand what’s important to you and the organization. In this module, participants will work through a values-ranking exercise to help them identify a supervision style. The group members will then create a written supervision philosophy. The purpose of this exercise is to help participants avoid a range of common first-time supervision problems: failing to develop others, not letting go, micromanaging, and other counterproductive behaviors.

What I Expect and Won’t Accept: Setting Standards

In addition to following a supervision philosophy, it’s important to let people know what is and isn’t okay. Furthermore, it is helpful to communicate work preferences. For example, “When you come to me with problems, bring a few solutions too – even if they’re not perfect.” Working in teams and individually, participants will develop a list of expectations and guidelines.

Contact Frequency and Channels: Choosing When to Communicate

The next part of this course reviews communication tools available to supervisors: one-on-ones, staff meetings, team huddles, quarterly updates, and annual reviews. We will look at best practices for using each and the importance of deciding a schedule and sticking to it.

Priorities, Priorities: Focusing the Team

If people don’t know what’s most important and how their work fits into the bigger picture, a supervisor is bound to be frustrated that the wrong things are being done, or the right things are being done but at the wrong time. In most cases, supervisors in those situations have themselves to thank. This workshop segment reviews the importance of letting people know priorities and keeping direct reports engaged when targets move.

Everyday Learning: Growing in the Role

Strong supervisors realize they are human and make mistakes. They also systematically self-evaluate and have a plan for self-development. In this final module, we’ll talk about systems of evaluating and resources for growing as a manager.

By the conclusion of this segment, participants should feel confident in their ability to make the transition from the role of individual contributor to manager.

Day Two: Understanding Ownership, Workplace Accountability, Goal Setting, and Delegation

Successful companies are mainly composed of people with an owner’s versus a renter’s mentality. Employees are engaged, have a strong sense of responsibility, and take pride in their work. The actions direct supervisors take have an enormous influence on an employee’s decision to buy or lease. This program session focuses on ownership, accountability, goal setting, and delegation.  

Session Objectives

At this session’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Explain employee engagement and strategies for managing owners, renters, and squatters.
  • Describe the importance of clarity and consistency when communicating workplace expectations.
  • Delegate the right tasks to the right people at the right level.
  • Encourage engagement.
  • Avoid common problems related to accountability, delegation, and goal setting.

Ownership Versus Accountability: Knowing the Difference

This part of the program opens with a sorting activity around accountability and ownership. Working in teams, participants will evaluate a series of behaviors and determine the extent to which a supervisor can hold an employee accountable for exhibiting each. We’ll then look at an accountability-ownership continuum. During this exercise, participants will evaluate their current work culture and where their group falls on the spectrum. The activities in the module will set the stage for the session and emphasize the importance of striving for ownership and engagement versus mere compliance.

Who Lives in the Neighborhood: Owners, Renters, and Squatters

This part of the program builds on the previous discussion. In this workshop module, we will take a closer look at three types of employees supervisors are likely to encounter: owners, renters, and squatters. Next, we will discuss ten actions supervisors can take to encourage engagement.  

The Three Cs: Clarity, Consistency, and Communication

It’s easier for people to take ownership when they understand what they are supposed to do, and they know how their work fits into the bigger picture. In this portion of the seminar, we will look at accountability conversations and what should be included when setting expectations. To reinforce the concepts discussed, participants will take part in a sequencing exercise and a juggling activity. Those challenges will illustrate the importance of explaining how tasks fit into the organization’s goal and meeting people where they are when assigning work. 

Delegation: What Needs to Be Done and How

As the juggling exercise will show, supervisors must meet people where they are if they want to encourage engagement. If they don’t, they can find themselves micromanaging, being inconsistent, not making obvious sense, or worse. This part of the program looks at when, how, what, to whom, and reasons to delegate. During this workshop segment, participants will work through a delegation worksheet and practice holding an accountability and goal-setting conversation.

Troubleshooting: Solving Problems

This session concludes with a series of case studies. Working in teams, participants will evaluate a range of scenarios and craft solutions to each.

By the end of this part of the workshop, participants should understand the importance of employee engagement and how to use accountability, delegation, and goal setting to encourage ownership.

Day Three: Leveraging Communication, Coaching, and Development

Just as flowers in a garden grow when they are planted in rich soil, watered, and fed, employees are more likely to reach their full potential when their supervisors create an environment that encourages ownership, they receive regular communication from higher-ups, and people work with them to identify and achieve career goals. This session focuses on the skills supervisors need to develop their direct reports.

Session Objectives

At this session’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the importance of encouragement and feedback in the management process.
  • Describe several popular coaching models and demonstrate their use.
  • Use questions to encourage engagement and ownership.
  • Practice active listening.
  • Describe a range of coaching options and how technology can assist in the process.
  • Explain the importance of understanding people styles and how to adjust communication to accommodate a range of preferences.

Encouragement and Feedback: Part of the Secret Sauce in Great Supervision

Beyond managing daily tasks, a big part of a supervisor’s responsibility is talent development. Successful supervisors know the importance of coaching. This session opens with four important questions: what is coaching, what’s the goal of coaching, what makes someone a good coach, and why does engagement typically increase when managers adopt a coaching approach to supervision?

Models: Choosing a Framework

CLEAR, GROW, and FUEL are among the many coaching models from which managers can choose, but more important than the framework chosen is the act of adopting a system and sticking to it. This part of the course introduces a range of options and the value of each. After reviewing various systems, participants will choose one for further exploration.

Questioning and Listening Skills: A Coach’s Top Tools

Questioning and listening skills are two essential tools supervisors must master in order to become strong coaches. This workshop segment looks at both. In this portion of the seminar, participants will practice their questioning skills and their ability to listen to what others tell them in such a way that they are able to encourage a dialog and build trust.

Solve the Case: Coaching for Growth, Coaching for Improvement

This program segment provides several opportunities for participants to practice their coaching skills. During this part of the training course, participants will plan several coaching sessions to address a series of case studies. Next, they will practice a coaching meeting.

When to Coach: Fitting It In

In an ideal world, coaching is planned, there is plenty of time to do it, and the supervisor has nothing else on his or her plate. Most workplaces are not ideal, however, and none is ideal all the time. This part of the program focuses on time management and coaching. During this module, we will look at how much time managers should devote to the coaching process, micro-coaching strategies, and technology that can assist managers in communicating with those they supervise. 

Understanding People Styles: Tailoring the Approach

Experienced managers realize that not everyone is wired the same way. For that reason, they adjust their approach to accommodate a range of people styles. In this final part of the session, participants will explore Business Training Works’ signature diagnostic tool, The Communication Jungle. During this module, participants will learn about communication preferences and how to use this information when managing others.

By the conclusion of this part of the program, participants will understand the value of coaching as a supervision tool, and they will know how to use a range of models when coaching others. They will also be able to tailor their approach to coaching depending on their direct report’s communication preferences.

Day Four: Addressing Performance Problems and Managing During Times of Change or Uncertainty 

Many new supervisors, as well as managers with years of experience, avoid having tough conversations that should have been had months or even years earlier. This session aims to make the process of confronting and correcting performance issues easier. This portion of the course also looks at scenario planning, skills for managing organizational change, and tactics for encouraging engagement when an organization goes through a period of growth or a process of right-sizing.

Session Objectives

At this session’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Get to the root cause of a performance problem.
  • Verify they aren’t contributing to a performance issue.
  • Hold a counseling conversation.
  • Reduce feelings of uncertainty in fast-moving environments.
  • Plan for the future and help their teams to do the same.

Why Performance Misses the Mark: Beyond Symptoms

This session begins with a discussion about the feedback people want from their supervisors and why employees don’t always do what they are supposed to do. We’ll also talk about the reasons managers fail to address performance problems and what can happen when people avoid holding performance-related conversations.

What Were You Measuring?: Back to the Beginning

In this workshop segment, participants will work in teams to create a Lego structure.  Their creations will be judged for points based on several criteria. However, the evaluation standards may or may not be communicated before the start of the building process. After the points are awarded, we will talk about the supervisor’s role in employee performance and why poor performance can be a symptom of a management problem and not an issue created by an employee.

Counseling Conversations: Correcting Performance Problems

When a manager has done everything he or she can to create an environment that encourages strong performance but problems still exist, a counseling conversation is often the next logical step. This part of the program explores the ins and outs of correcting performance problems that do not improve with coaching alone. During this part of the program, we’ll talk about the goals of counseling, what should happen before holding a counseling conversation, the process a conversation should follow, and how to deliver feedback in such a way that the employee feels he or she is in control of future actions and responsible for making choices. Next, participants will plan and hold a counseling conversation. This exercise should give participants a basic understanding of the counseling process and some foundational experience addressing performance problems.

Uncertain Times: Being Consistent in a Sea of Moving Parts

Strong supervisors know how uncertainty and change can affect their direct reports and contribute to performance problems.  This part of the program looks at workplace change and actions those in charge can leverage to encourage engagement and reduce change-related stress those they supervise may be feeling. During this portion of the workshop, participants will take part in a storytelling challenge. The catch? The rules and players change at irregular intervals. This activity highlights the feelings people often experience during times of change and provides an opportunity for us to discuss communication strategies supervisors can adopt to better manage in a fluctuating environment.

Future Casting: Preparing for What’s Next

Rarely does the calculus of any business stay “as is” for very long. Good supervisors know the importance of preparing people for future shifts. This session ends with an exercise in future casting. During this seminar segment, participants will discuss the importance of planning for a variety of scenarios and how to encourage their direct reports to do the same.

By the end of this session, participants should know the steps they need to take to address workplace problems, stay consistent in times of change or uncertainty, and prepare for a range of possible future scenarios.