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Dear Workforce How Can Supervisors Strengthen Credibility?

I am one of six supervisors (frontline management) that collectively are trying to build credibility with command staff and our manager. What should our strategy entail?
February 1, 2011
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Dear Please Respect Us:
Creating and executing a strategy for proactively improving your credibility among executives is certainly a wise move. The outcome will most likely include access to greater resources, more freedom and choice assignments. The key elements of improving credibility include:
• Personal skill development
• Enhanced sharing and cooperation
• Improved business processes
• Ability to clearly demonstrate organizational impact
Assuming your organization, like most others, faces severe budget constraints, it's probably best to start by examining low-cost (or no-cost) out-of-pocket cost options. As a team, work on crafting some shared organizational-impact goals, define each supervisor's role in achieving them and develop a strategy to accomplish them that includes each of the four key elements listed above.
If you are interested in measuring your progress, get a baseline level of your credibility by asking managers and key executives to rate your team's current credibility, relative to the rest of the organization using a numerical scale.
With a strategy and baseline measure behind you, look at each team member closely to determine development needs, so that the teams' overall competencies closely match both the current and projected competency needs. If your organization doesn't have target competencies, ask colleagues in similar organizations to share theirs. Develop a personal learning and development plan for each supervisor that focuses on business acumen, leadership, conflict resolution, interpersonal and communication skills.
Next, focus on improving the level of sharing and cooperation. Rapid-sharing processes cost very little, but ensure that each team member has access to the best business practices and information. It also ensures that each supervisor receives sufficient "advance warning" about current and upcoming problems and opportunities. The best tools for increased sharing and internal cooperation include: periodic meetings, sharing on internal social networks, subject-matter wikis and peer mentoring and coaching. You might also consider developing team processes for recognizing and rewarding individuals that excel at sharing, cooperating and helping fellow team members.
Now that your team has addressed goals, competence and sharing, the next step is to focus on something truly visible, producing superior business results. Tackle operational issues and opportunities according to the rank assigned each by senior leaders. Focus a majority of your time and resources on the most impactful operational processes to increase their output and overall quality. Leverage employees in your effort by asking them to identify any "barriers" that restrict individual or team productivity.
The final act in improving internal credibility revolves around making your business impact known. The key to this is developing a set of performance metrics that your senior managers/leaders buy into, and then communicating changes in each. Whenever possible, don't stop with just the raw metrics: Combine multiple measures to develop a "business case," and convert the impact on the organization into financial terms, such as increased revenue, better cost efficiency, improved external service level, user satisfaction and other strategic results. Communicate frequently about positive developments using channels of communication that managers pay attention to.
After six months, evaluate your results and take the necessary steps to improve your credibility strategy. After one year, ask your executives to again rate your credibility. Don't be surprised if it increases by as much as 20 percent.
SOURCE: John Sullivan, management professor, San Francisco State University
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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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