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Management Training

Power Tools for Supervisors

Supervisor Training Offered by Janet Anderson, SPHR, CEAP, LCSW

Big Sky Performance Solutions

Training is available on-site or virtually




It is critical that all employees have the tools to do their jobs. It is of particular importance for leaders to be as fluent as possible in the skillset required to effectively manage people. These skills go beyond knowing how to properly manage the technical aspects of the job; indeed, success there is normally the very reason leaders are promoted to managing people. And when promoting top performers based on proven technical expertise, their aptitude for successful engagement of reporting employees may remain overlooked and unquestioned.


It varies widely between organizations, but most provide at least some basic supervisory training. I fully support and endorse organizations providing more supervisory training than they may believe they need. Supervisors are organizationally responsible for other employees whose success is critical to the health of the organization. Additionally, supervisors are on the front line of liability protection as well as causation. They are worthy of investment. Effective supervision is an art, and one that requires ongoing education to effectively execute.


To this important supervisory development process, I offer specialized education in the interpersonal skills required to be successful in the supervisor relationship. "Supervisor" is a complex role and one that requires many skillsets, one of which is the ability to effectively engage with reports. Let me partner with you to bring your supervisors education and training in negotiating this important role which operates very differently than our standard social roles.


Without education, it is common for a supervisor, particularly a novice, to call upon norms and mores used in everyday life. Or to react emotionally to a stressful situation much like they might at home or elsewhere in their personal life. However, being in a supervisor role calls for a different set of behaviors. Avoiding hurting someone’s feelings with negative feedback is not helpful to a leader or to the supervisee. Likewise, being unable to set boundaries, delegate work and manage performance is going to create a communication void in the unit the leader is managing. And it certainly is not helpful for a leader to be unwilling to hold employees accountable. These resistances are all fear-based. The reasons for that fear will be unique to each individual supervisor, but many fears are common to all.


That fear is hard on the supervisor. Not being provided with clear expectations on an ongoing bases due to the supervisor’s reluctance to act is hard on the employees. Management failing to address a performance issue is detrimental to the organization and can result in liability issues. And the longer the issue remains unattended, the more difficult it becomes to correct.


To the Rescue: Power Tools for Supervisors


I have found that supervisors can benefit greatly from help in better understanding themselves in their role as supervisor. I offer a supervisor training that touches on 4 key areas where supervisors are typically challenged.


This training is unique in that throughout all of the discussions runs a continuous thread that takes into consideration the supervisors’ personal experience in managing these issues. It does not merely spoon-feed information, but allows space for the supervisors to explore what works best for their individual style in supervising their employees. During this process, they will inevitably come to understand their own personal anxieties associated with some of the more difficult tasks involved in effectively engaging employees.


The anxieties of supervision are many:

- Will I get sued?

- Will my employee file a harassment or discrimination charge?

- Do I have the right to address this issue with the employee?

- Will the employee become angry with me?

- Am I acting fairly?

- Will I put the organization at risk with my actions?

- What about workplace violence?

- Will the employee hate me for correcting them?


This four-hour training, Power Tools for Supervisors begins with a group discussion of the supervisor role – what it is and what it is not. We will talk about the issue of the power differential inherent in the supervisor role and how to manage it. We will discuss - using all confidentiality protections - situations the supervisors feel are the most difficult for them to manage. As we move through the formalized training below, we will refer back to these cases in order to immediately apply the learning by giving it specific context.


The training is also individualized to coordinate with your organization’s workplace policies; I will consult with your human resources department and review organizational policies prior to the presentation to ensure training is compliant with those policies.


Power Tools for Supervisors


1. How to Effectively Approach a Performance Problem

We will learn how to safely define a performance problem. It is not uncommon for a supervisor to not recognize something as a performance problem or to think there is a performance problem where there may not be one. I will present a model of problem definition that will effectively create a layer of protection against employee challenge to supervisory correction. We will also discuss strategies for supervisors to immediately address challenges as they occur.



2. The Difficult Conversation

This is where many supervisors falter. They do not have the skills to do this. Or they believe they don’t have the skills. Or maybe they just don’t want to do it for a number of other reasons; fear is normally the #1 reason for avoidance. We will discuss those fears. We will discuss how to plan for the conversation: how to start it, and also how to sustain a conversation in remaining productive at a moment the employee is raising defenses to the correction. We will also talk about how to effectively and strategically stop the conversation if things are not going in a value-added direction.


3. Documentation

Documentation can be worrisome for a supervisor. Our discussion will take the mystery out of it and will provide tangible skills including what to document as well as what not to document, how to effectively word supervisory notes, and confidentiality. We will also discuss documentation of corrective action in line with organizational policies.


4. Self-care

We also talk about self-care in the training. The supervisor role is difficult, and I oftentimes find it to be underrated in that many times a promoted employee is expected to automatically know how to supervise. Supervisors are frequently relieved to be validated that supervision is hard. In addition to providing them with tools to effectively supervise, which will result in less stress for them, we will also discuss personal self-care measures.


Power Tools for Supervisors can be provided both in person and virtually, and works best with a group of 50 or less. It is fun and interactive. The participants learn from each other and find it comforting to know they are not the only one who struggles. The goal of this training is empowerment of the supervisor with sound and safe approaches to managing people, resulting in reduced stress for the supervisor and for the employee, and in a reduction in potential issues of liability due to unfair labor charges.


Please contact me if you are interested in further exploring this training for your supervisors and managers.


Janet Anderson, SPHR, CEAP, LCSW

(775) 722-5066

Billings, Montana




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