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Dear Workforce What Role Does Training Play in Overcoming Employee Discontent With Supervisors

We have come to the conclusion that our supervisors do not have the required skills to properly manage their people. We think our current supervisor tool kit (it is in the form of a folder of useful information, links to self-help modules, etc.) is not giving them the information they need (or at least maybe not in a format or layout that delivers the message). Our survey shows that 65 percent of our employees are unhappy with how they are supervised. How could we enhance the tool kit to make managers more engaging and effective? What might they need to perform their roles well?
August 13, 2009
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Related Topics: Recognition, Basic Skills Training, Motivating Employees, Dear Workforce
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Dear Out of Touch:
 
Your first step here is to back up a bit. Numerous pieces of research show how getting promoted to supervisory roles is a highly stressful move for people. Also, many of today's supervisors feel unprepared for (and unsupported in) their new roles. This can contribute directly to the discontent you're seeing.
Instead of focusing solely on the tool kit, start preparing supervisors three to six months before they take on the added responsibilities of the promotion. More often than not, employees are promoted due to technical ability rather than management skill. Supervisory candidates need to be developed, coached and possibly mentored so that they are fully equipped to start achieving results through others.
It's also important to pay attention to what's going on at the senior manager level. If senior managers aren't communicating corporate strategies, goals and expectations, then that disconnect will affect the way supervisors manage their employees. “Transition talks”—one-on-one meetings between supervisors and managers—can resolve this issue. Topics could include strategies, goals, priorities, how to work within the system, and who the resource people will be.
As for a tool kit specifically, a variety of information and activities should be available that support real skills development. Ideally this will follow initial leadership training. These skills are necessary for success in any leadership role, such as planning and organization, time management, communication (including listening skills), delegation, building effective teams and motivating others.
For example, let's assume a deficiency in giving feedback is identified. While having the supervisor read a few articles might help, it alone won't achieve lasting behavior change. People need key behavior steps that help them apply skills to real-world situations. With this in mind, the tool kit could include a comprehensive online tool with a number of interactive sessions. The supervisor could select information about feedback, then listen to a scenario and respond to questions about it. This type of integrated approach provides the kind of support needed to apply the skills back on the job.
Once the right development and reinforcement structures are in place—from initial guidance and support to a supplementary tool kit—your supervisors will be better positioned to provide the kind of leadership that engages employees and contributes to higher productivity.
SOURCE: Chris Blauth, AchieveGlobal, Tampa, Florida, July 20, 2007
LEARN MORE: An interesting take on management skills is contained in this article by Gershon Mader and Josh Leibner. Also, companies are spending more money to equip managers with needed competencies.
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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