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Supervisor Training: Insider Tips for Management Skills Development


If you think it’s just newbies on the job who need training, think again. At USC Consulting Group, we’ve learned the importance of training, continuous learning and plain, old reaching higher for people on all rungs of the corporate ladder. Even supervisors and managers. Some people would say, especially supervisors and managers. And it’s not only because training is necessary to get the job done right. It’s also because great managers and supervisors make for happier employees. Supervisor and manager training is one good way to get them there.

We’ve found that supervisor training in management skills development allows managers to learn, grow and master new skill sets. It also allows them to help their employees do the same.

That’s a critical piece of the training pie. Training needs to trickle down. Managers and supervisors are largely responsible for training their staffs, not just in skills for their current job. It’s also important to give them skills development training that prepares them for the next rung on the ladder. It has been proven time and time again that companies that invest in employee training see an increase in morale and motivation to do the job. As the “great resignation” continues on, it’s more important than ever to do everything you can to keep employees happy, make them feel valued, and show them a path forward with your company.

The type of supervisor and manager training that’s right for your company depends on the industry you’re in, the types of jobs you’re dealing with and even the people who you have your eye on for training and development. But we’ve found there are some common components to successful manager and supervisor training that are beneficial to most companies.

A five-step approach to skills development

This process was designed to help companies proactively drive development and establish a cycle of continuous learning. Before you get into the nitty gritty of your training, it’s useful to keep this in mind about process and outcomes.

  1. Focus on priorities. Identify your critical issues and goals.
  2. Implement something every day. Stretch your comfort zone.
  3. Reflect on what happens. Extract maximum learning from your experiences.
  4. Seek feedback and support. Learn from others’ ideas and perspectives.
  5. Transfer learning into next steps. Adapt and plan for continued learning and best practices.

Training tips

When you’re clear about your process and outcomes, it’s time to get down to the actual training. Here are a few suggestions for solid skills development.

Self assessment. A strong way to begin is by asking the supervisors and/or managers participating in the training to do a self-assessment on their strengths and weaknesses. From there, you can create a matrix consisting of the self-ratings of all of your participants. This gives you, and them, a snapshot of the team’s strengths and where they can improve.

Operating system assessment. Taking a hard look at your operating system can uncover some uncomfortable truths, like poor work assignments, recurring problems, the wrong work getting done, and lack of communication about where projects stand. From there, you can work to identify solutions to those snafus, like:

  • Planning production schedules, meetings and forecasts
  • Assigning the right people to do the right job at the right time
  • Hourly performance reports that monitor productivity
  • Reports about shift, daily and weekly performance and problems

All of this can help identify the root causes of wasted time and resources, positively impacting your bottom line in the end.

Focus on the Five Ms. This is a Lean principle that takes these five Ms to put in place a process for streamlined outcomes in your operations.

  1. Measurements. Are you measuring the right things?
  2. Man (and woman) power. Are the right people doing the right job at the right time? Are they cross trained?
  3. Methods. Are you following best practices?
  4. Machines. Do they need maintenance or upgrades?
  5. Materials. Enough supply? Too much? Disruption causing bottlenecks?

Creating a plan of action

The logical consequence of a plan is action. A good plan for action will include expectations, assignments and follow up.

  • Who needs to do what, when and how?
  • Are your assignments SMART? (Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely)
  • Is follow-up a way of life or an occasional action?

One powerful component in this part of the process is to enlist the help of your operators. Ask what they like about the job, what they don’t like and what needs to change. Nobody knows it better than the people on the line.

Management skills development

Your managers likely got to that rung of the ladder because they had mastered the “hard” skills of the job — getting the job done right. But what about “soft” skills? More often than not, managers need a little refresher in:

  • Listening
  • Communication
  • Working efficiently
  • Delegation
  • Motivation (for self and staff)

These soft skills will help kick their overall managerial skills up a notch. Becoming an effective leader means your managers need to provide clear direction to employees, lead confidently and courageously, foster a team environment, provide motivation and handle change management like a pro.

If that all sounds like a mouthful, don’t worry. At USC Consulting Group, we’ve been training our clients in management skills development as part of our service since our inception back in 1968. Want to learn more? Give us a call. We’ll be happy to discuss how we can help your supervisors and managers level up.

Contact USC Consulting Group

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