Supervision & Team Leader Training

What needs to change?

Supervisions skills are the tools and behaviours that should be adopted by first line managers, or team leaders, at the point at which they take on their first managerial role. It is the transition from managing self to managing others.

The individual needs to adapt his mindset so that his focus is no longer on how he can achieve his personal workplace objectives, but rather how he can communicate objectives set by his new manager and ensure that his new team can deliver them.  It may take some time for him to understand the new role and the responsibilities attached to it, therefore this training should be planned in advance and implemented early on in the supervisors new role.

This shift might require an individual to build, for example, communication and delegation skills and begin to adopt the behaviours of a leader – assertiveness, decisiveness and team motivation.

According to a survey carried out in the US in 2010 by Career Builder ‘...26% of managers said they weren’t ready to become a leader when they started managing others...and 58% said they didn’t receive any management training...”.  

Recent research from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) found that “Just 18% of employers expect managers to have management training before being appointed”, meaning most newly appointed managers had no prior training.

Based on the figures above, it appears that many new supervisors or first line managers are put into their new role unprepared for and possibly even unaware of the demands it will have on them.

Why does this matter?

The Supervisor or First Line Manager is the single person likely to have the most influence on the day to day working life of the team than any other manager. How they approach their role, therefore, will have a profound impact upon the performance of the team and thus the organisation as a whole.

According to an article entitled ‘The Rise of the Informal People Manager’ by the Corporate Executive Board, an effective people manager has the potential to improve employee performance by 25%, improve employee engagement by 52% and employee retention by a substantial 40%.

The key to being an effective supervisor or team leader lies in their ability to communicate:

  • the organizational vision is understood by all and team focus and effort is directed on the objectives that will realise that vision
  • the team feel motivated and inspired to achieve
  • the supervisor can provide constructive feedback to the team as a whole and individuals within it, addressing any areas for developmentListening skills must be developed to ensure that the Supervisor can:
  • recognise and address the mood of the team and report this back to his line manager
  • navigate and deal with tensions and negativity amongst the team
  • identify and reward successes and strengths

Assertiveness in a new supervisory role is essential in order that:

  • the new leader can carefully set himself apart from his former peers
  • get the balance right between delegation and control
  • difficult situations are dealt with efficiently

The new team leader will also need to feel confident in their new role particularly when;

  • overcoming barriers and obstacles
  • meeting new challenges
  • reporting back to the new line manager on progress
  • working with the manager to achieve goals
  • establishing a leadership style

Bad supervisors or first-line managers cause higher staff turnover rates, an increase in unauthorised absence and lead generally to a disgruntled team.

In summary, if your organisation wants new managers at supervisory level to make a positive impact on organizational goals by enhancing the performance of their team – training is going to be essential.


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