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<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Shore Up a Failing Competency Framework for Line Managers?

March 7, 2008
Dear Failure on the Front Line:
Developing supervisory skills is not an easy task. The most critical step is the first: namely, clearly defining the requirements of supervisors versus those of individual contributors. Specifically, how will success as a supervisor be evaluated, and how clear are supervisors about changes in their roles?
Select for competencies in how to lead people, rather than relying exclusively on developing these skills after the fact. For example, effective supervisors balance their need to personally achieve results with a desire to accomplish goals through others. They also are able to build relationships that balance the need to be liked with the ability to manage employees' performance—all while maintaining trust and respect.
Understanding a supervisor's motives—their need for achievement, affiliation and power—helps you provide effective coaching and management development. Building people-leadership skills also involves assessing emotional intelligence (i.e., self-awareness), which is the ability to manage one's self and relate to others effectively.
It also is important to understand an individual's leadership style: Is it democratic versus autocratic; developing versus pace-setting; authoritative versus controlling; and so on. Finally, a helpful measure for determining a supervisor's performance lies in assessing the work climate he or she creates. Climate is a culmination of the supervisor's role clarity, motives, competencies and leadership style, and has been shown to affect overall performance as much as 30 percent.
There are supervisory programs that use assessment tools and multi-rater feedback prior to managers attending management-development training. In-baskets and role plays also are often used to assess and develop skills that create an engaged and motivated workforce.
SOURCE: Connie Freeman and Jim Bowers, Hay Group, Philadelphia, January 3, 2008.
LEARN MORE: Organizations may be missing essential managerial skills needed for sustained success.
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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