January 17, 2013
Promoting employees with excellent technical skills and great work habits into the role of supervisor is one of the best ways to build a management team. It also creates a career ladder within the organization that is essential to attracting and retaining a competitive workforce. Supervisors who move up through the ranks of various jobs have important insight into daily operations. They have the credibility needed to lead by example and the experience that allows them to relate to front line workers. What they may lack are the skills needed to supervise and coach other employees. Those skills can be developed through education, training, and mentoring programs.
Advancement to a role of management without proper training can set the supervisor and the organization up for failure. One definition of a manager is “someone who gets things done through other people.” The manager’s role is to promote the goals of the organization, convey performance expectations to the workers, and oversee the workflow each day.
In order to support the transition to management, the organization must dedicate resources to teach the new supervisor effective communication and coaching skills so they can direct and influence the work of their employees. It is also important for the manager to develop good habits for organization, time management, and the ability to delegate tasks; therefore, allowing them to avoid taking on the overload of work themselves. Another skill set needed to be a good manager is critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making. Building observational, analytical, reasoning and judgment skills will support the new supervisor’s confidence to address operational challenges and make sound decisions.
New supervisors must learn how to interact in different ways with workers who were their peers before the promotion. It can be a challenge to be promoted over co-workers who are friends and relatives, employees who have more years of service with the company, and workers from different generations. Working relationships can make or break the cooperation needed to get the job done and foster teamwork. Learning ways to establish the trust and confidence of their staff will help everyone adapt to the changes. Since first line supervisors usually have the responsibility of training employees, they must also assume the role of a teacher and instructor. Just because they were good at doing the jobs they are now overseeing, doesn’t mean they can carry out the plans for training employees. It is important for managers to understand how adults learn and develop the skills they need to conduct on-the-job training.
An important part of a good career ladder program is to include technical skills training. Some roles may require learning new computer skills such as use of e-mail, creating word documents, working with spread sheets, and designing publications. In other roles it may require better writing, advanced math, or presentation skills.
FM offers many credit and non-credit courses to enhance career mobility. Some of the more popular topics for emerging leaders include Supervision & Coaching, Effective Communication, Time Management, and Microsoft Excel. Training services are customized to the needs of each employer and can be delivered on site or at FM. Our Center for Employer Services has many resources to support your staff development needs. For more information contact me at (518) 424-9370 or Theresa.Craig@fmcc.suny.edu.
Theresa DaBiere-Craig is the Outreach Representative for the Center for Employer Services at FM.