It is vitally important to provide the right tools for new supervisors. It gives them the confidence to do the job to their true potential. I am very passionate about employers giving them this critical support. ‘Accidental leaders’ can crash and burn through no fault of their own. Each supervisor may need slightly different tools to match their circumstances.
Sometimes in your training career you get one of those amazing moments whilst helping supervisors to appreciate their role. This happened to me recently when six supervisors from the award winning Farmer Palmers, near Poole, attended our Supervisor’s Toolkit course. This was part of Farmer Palmers Written Plan to deliver “Progress is Success” training. It was refreshing for me that they were so eager to learn, implement their actions and to make a real difference. Too often young people get bad press these days. I would like to share this with you, as actually, there are some exceptional people out there. They just need to be given the opportunity to prove it.
Agreeing the Right Tools for New Supervisors
Every business has different requirements. I visited Farmer Palmers to find out what results they needed from the course and tied this in with the delegates’ pre-course briefings. This is part of our service at Training for Results.
The business needs were that the delegates should:
- Have more confidence to manage.
- Understand their boundaries and expectations.
- Feel more empowered and accept their accountability and take ownership.
- Be more pro-active in finding solutions to problems.
- Understand the implications of change and strategy.
- Give more praise and manage performance.
- Be able to delegate effectively.
- Recognise the importance of quality and consistency.
The results the delegates wanted were to learn how to:
- Be a good successful supervisor.
- Improve communication.
- Be more efficient/effective.
- Train staff better.
- Get better understanding of team’s needs.
- Deal with difficult situations.
- Separate myself from my team and be professional.
- Give greater customer service.
- Develop management skills and confidence.
We believe that any training is a partnership between the organisation, the trainees and the trainers, if you want maximum potential to be achieved. What made this course different to some I have run was the support from the business owners, Sandra Palmer-Snellin and Phillip Palmer. They thought about what the training needs were; then briefed and encouraged their team to attend. It wasn’t a case of ‘being sent’. They provided them with inspirational learning diaries. Emma Newsum, HR Manager, attended the last workshop, so that she could support them with their actions back in the workplace and develop a growth and reward scheme.
Supervisor’s Toolkit covered three days of training with a fortnight between sessions to implement some of the learning. They applied this each time. There was a really supportive and fun energy in the room, which was very much appreciated by the seventh attendee, who was from a local brewery. All the attendees were open minded to change and improved self awareness. It is so important to keep that initial motivation going. Sadly, I have seen it replaced in other companies with cynicism and apathy where the learning is not allowed to be applied.
Here are just a few of the actions they agreed to take:
- Set expectations for the team, set targets and review progress.
- Be more assertive and deal with things at the time.
- Ask for feedback and give feedback with more praise.
- Delegate more – trust more.
- Give team more training so they can perform.
- Get team thinking for themselves by asking questions.
A month after the training, the delegates had a review. Each gave an impressive presentation on what they had learnt and how they applied it. For me, making a difference is a prime motivator and this event was very emotive with the quality of the presentations and what they had done. Sandra and Phillip were very proud of their team too.
Some of the outcomes are:
- As a team we can do anything and achieve more. We just need to put our minds to it. Communication between departments had improved greatly.
- It is all about leadership not leadersheep. Don’t follow the herd. Getting my team to think more for themselves and show initiative.
- Improved my self esteem so I don’t feel I need to justify what I do to the team. This has helped assertiveness and team relationships.
- Prepared to say no to jobs to encourage others to take responsibility.
- Being more assertive to ask older people to do tasks.
- Managing performance more by stepping back and planning my approach.
- Better overall planning and writing it down.
- Being more approachable and giving more praise.
- “I have learnt that communication is very important within a team, alongside setting expectations. I admit in the past; communication was not my greatest strength. (This was from someone who now gave a confident presentation to his peers and employers). I now actively:
- Listen to the team and what they need.
- Communicate across departments.
- Delegate to empower and gain ownership from the team.
- Have morning ‘huddle’ meetings with the team to agree the tasks for the day.
- Set a time scale for job completion and then check it has been done to the right standard.
- Support all staff to finish on time.”
The supervisors will continue to have on-going reviews to keep the momentum going. They are now working with Key Performance Indicators, their Department Development to Exceed Customer Expectations and growing their profits. It shows what can be achieved with the right culture and learning environment. Supervisors get on with the task in hand with confidence when they are given the right tools.