I’ve been involved with management and supervisory training
for over 35 years. I’ve worked with some
of the largest companies in the world – and some mom and pop shops. Over the years I’ve learned that no management
and supervisory training program will yield positive results if the roles of
managers and supervisors are not clear.
Way back when, I was a trainer for a large Oil Company. I used to conduct the Interaction Management
training developed by DDI. This was a
great skills building program. However, my
company never got the right amount of payback for their investment.
Here’s what would happen.
I’d be conducting a module on something like handling performance
problems. I’d do the kick off and get
started on the skill building when a hand would go up. “Yes,” I would say. He or she would then say something like, “I’m
not supposed to do this kind of stuff.
I’m supposed to send them to HR.”
This would derail the entire conversation, as we would get
into a discussion (argument sometimes) about whether or not managers and
supervisors were supposed to have performance discussions with their employees.
The company obviously thought so, but they never told the
supervisors. So they were wasting their
management and supervisory training dollars.
When I became the Training Director at another company, I
found the same problem. My solution was
to develop a clear set of expectations for managers and supervisors prior to
doing any training. Line managers communicated
these expectations to their leaders. We
also tied these expectations to our performance appraisal system.
Once managers and supervisors figured out that they were
going to be held accountable for their ability to lead people, our management
and supervisory training programs were oversubscribed. They all wanted to learn the skills, so they
could use them and get high marks on their annual reviews.
Way back in 1994 I published a book called Supervisory Leadership. In that book, I
identified the most common roles for managers and supervisors. May of my clients have used it to help them
define the specific roles that want their managers and supervisors to
play. Then they teach the skills
associated with these roles in their management and supervisory training
Has your company figured out exactly what you want your
managers and supervisors to do? If not,
I suggest you take some time and do so before you spend any more money on
management and supervisory training.