Tip #615:  New Supervisor Training

white businesswoman discussing

“The trouble with learning from experience is that you never graduate.”  Doug Larson

 I have been working with an agency that promotes staff into supervisory positions and also hires supervisors from outside of the agency.

The external hires typically have supervisory experience, but are unfamiliar with the specifics of the agency’s culture, management style, policies and procedures. The staff promoted from within have agency-specific knowledge and experience, but lack any training as supervisors.

The dilemma is that both groups of new supervisors meet together in a year-long new supervisor training program.

In the past, each monthly meeting has focused on building specific supervisory skills, such as interpersonal communication, performance management, time management, and having difficult conversations.

The promoted supervisors have gained from both the skill-building activities and the group discussion.

The experienced supervisors have been able to share their experiences and perspectives, which has enriched the training sessions for everyone. But the experienced supervisors have also had to participate in basic supervisor training when what they really need is to learn what it means to be a supervisor in this agency.

This week, the supervisors suggested an alternative format for each training session that I think will be a brilliant solution.

The experienced supervisors acknowledge that the new supervisors need to learn basic supervisory skills- and that a refresher would be useful for them as well.

Both the experienced and the promoted supervisors need to learn how these skills are used to address agency-specific situations and issues.

The new format will be as follows:

The morning session will involve interactive learning activities intended to build specific supervisory skills.

The afternoon session will involve a panel of long-term agency supervisors who can explain what the new supervisors can expect to handle, provide lessons learned, and offer additional tips to help the new supervisors be successful in their new positions.

I think that this format will result in a very rich, effective and agency-grounded learning experience.

How do you handle new supervisory training that involves promoted staff and outside hires?

May your learning be sweet.


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