Supervisors: What Do You Need to Be An Awesome Boss?

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of GovLoop GovLoop 3 years, 12 months ago.

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  • #113439
    Profile photo of Dr. GovLoop
    Dr. GovLoop

    Management Concepts, one of GovLoop’s premiere partners in 2010, is sponsoring a poll on the training needs of Federal supervisors.

    OPM and the 2010 Federal Supervisor Training Act (H.R. 5522) are mandating that Federal supervisors have supervisory training within one year of their appointment, and at least every 3 years after that. So if you have to have supervisory training:

    What do you want to learn most about how to be a more effective supervisor?
    How do you want to learn?
    How urgent is the need for training within your agency?

    Cast your vote below, and if you have other feedback on the need for supervisory training or the kind of training you’d like to receive, join the discussion at the bottom of the page.

  • #113467
    Profile photo of GovLoop

    Interesting. Is that law 100% passed? That’s a good requirement

  • #113465
    Profile photo of Casey Wilson
    Casey Wilson

    Not yet. Although, some version of this proposed law, or a similar one with similar requirements, will likely move forward in the near future. Momentum has been gaining, and many agencies are beginning to align with the compliance requirements ahead of time.

    Supervisors have a challenge as they are often tasked to work in their respective technical areas while also maintaining supervisory responsibilities and accountabilities. Training to support supervisors should enable them to more effectively manage these accountabilities, creating less stress for supervisors, more engaged employees, and organizations whose collective energy is spent achieving its mission rather than expending energy on challenges created by poor supervision.

  • #113463
    Profile photo of Megan

    HR 5522 IH
    111th CONGRESS
    2d Session
    H. R. 5522
    To amend chapter 41 of title 5, United States Code, to provide for the
    establishment and authorization of funding for certain training programs for
    supervisors of Federal employees.
    June 14, 2010
    Mr. MORAN of Virginia (for himself, Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia, and Mr. WOLF)
    introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight
    and Government Reform

    Here is the core set of suggestions in the bill, this seems like a good starting point whether or not it passes:

    (i) developing and discussing relevant goals and objectives together with
    the employee, communicating and discussing progress relative to
    performance goals and objectives and conducting performance appraisals;
    `(ii) mentoring and motivating employees and improving employee
    performance and productivity;
    `(iii) fostering a work environment characterized by fairness, respect,
    equal opportunity, and attention paid to the merit of the work of
    `(iv) effectively managing employees with unacceptable performance;
    `(v) addressing reports of a hostile work environment, reprisal, or
    harassment of, or by, another supervisor or employee; and
    `(vi) otherwise carrying out the duties or responsibilities of a
    `(B) a program to provide training to supervisors on the prohibited
    personnel practices under section 2302 (particularly with respect to such
    practices described under subsection (b) (1) and (8) of that section),
    employee collective bargaining and union participation rights, and the
    procedures and processes used to enforce employee rights; and
    `(C) a program under which experienced supervisors mentor new supervisors
    `(i) transferring knowledge and advice in areas such as communication,
    critical thinking, responsibility, flexibility, motivating employees,
    teamwork, leadership, and professional development; and
    `(ii) pointing out strengths and areas for development.

  • #113461
    Profile photo of GovLoop

    That’s great. Definitely needed – makes it “good to have” to mandated is huge and good

  • #113459
    Profile photo of Stephen Peteritas
    Stephen Peteritas

    I wouldn’t say I’m a boss but for me I definitely need help in the realm of performance talks and setting expectations. That whole area makes me feel awkward and would have no idea how to approach it if I ever had to.

  • #113457

    My hunch is that supervisors are super busy people…curious to see how they prefer to learn and if it’s more self-paced, on their own time or spending a couple days in a formal classroom setting…or if even a couple days is too long and they’d like it to be shorter (i.e. a day or a few hours).

  • #113455
    Profile photo of Carol Davison
    Carol Davison

    The CFR already requires us to train supervisors, managers and exectuives to the mastery level. I find the performance of some of them shocking, considering the requirement.

    Supervisors should be trained using action learning projects where they get to apply what they rae learning because it has the greatest retention rates.

    I don’t understand the value of asking them how they want to be trained. We don’t do so in other areas.

  • #113453
    Profile photo of Anthony Tormey
    Anthony Tormey

    My understanding is this bill has gone before committee several times for the past several years but has not gotten the support to go before the House or Senate. There is the “Supervisor’s Training Act” for 2006, 2008 etc. Even then it would need to be funded.

    Leader Development Institute has surveyed local, state and federal employees twice in the past 5 years. Here is some of the information. Of the 1283 polled 106 participated. Of those, 59 were non supervisory employees, 33 were in a supervisor/manager role and 19 considered themselves as senior leaders. The majority of them associated themselves with operations or maintenance versus (any role in direct support of mission that was NOT technical or administrative) the other categories were admin as in receptionist, admin assistant, secretary, and technical, IT, Scientist, engineer. When asked if they would like to see available leadership training where a select group starts and finishes together in an established “program”, or simply regularly scheduled and ongoing training opportunities, 73 would like to see them both made available. Twenty six topics or categories were presented with the highest number, 54 indicating leadership training being the most desired. The high scores went to dealing with difficult employees, team building and project management. Surprisingly the category “Aural Communication Skills had the lowest return. However, it may have been poorly worded in that it could have been interpreted as briefing or presentation skills.

    Most (50) are looking at one day of training to be preferred followed by 2 days and then half days. Forty eight indicated they would participate on a quarterly basis, followed by every other month, monthly and twice a year being pretty much evenly split.

    Hope this was of interest.

  • #113451
    Profile photo of Anthony Tormey
    Anthony Tormey

    Stephen, I would turn to the organizational core values, vision and mission statements as the framework for these conversations. Let them be your guide in guiding your conversations refremce performance and expectations. I would also establish your own, “Set the stage policy”. Often what makes it awkward is because these things weren’t addressed in the begining, the longer you wait, the more awkward it becomes. You think it’s awkward now, wait 5 years and see how awkward it is. I submit, a “Set the Stage” meeting can be done any time.

  • #113449
    Profile photo of Anthony Tormey
    Anthony Tormey

    I admit the survey fell short in identifing differnt training approaches and focused on the platform/instructor led approach. However, one day in that environment was prevelant. However, an anecdotal comment I often observe (beside “my supervisor should be here”) after a one day event is, “this should have been two days”

  • #113447
    Profile photo of Anthony Tormey
    Anthony Tormey

    Although I agree Carol (I refer to it as experiential training), I believe the biggest shortfall is lack of follow through on both the students part (practice and commitment) and the leadership (support and reinforcement), ecspecially if leadership brings training “in house”.

    As to the value in asking “how” they want to be trained, I believe as adult learners we all learn differntly and as such it is helpful to appeal to their learning modality. Even in a platform insructional environment the effective trainer/facilitator will exercise several approaches in order to reach all the participants.

  • #113445
    Profile photo of Jaime Gracia
    Jaime Gracia

    Working with federal supervisors at all levels, the biggest need that I see is effective communications.

  • #113443
    Profile photo of Pattie Buel
    Pattie Buel

    I think the biggest shock for new supervisors (and therefore the biggest training need) is exactly how much of their time they will spend on personnel issues. Even folks who have been team leads before (dealing with workload issues only) can be surprised at the amount of time needed for “HR stuff”. I think every new supervisor needs to have a heart-to-heart with another supervisor about what it takes to actually write a good performance evaluation within the first 2 weeks on the job. Preferably with someone who’s had to give an employee an evaluation that was lower than what the employee thought they should get (Gave a 3 of 5 when person thought they were a 4). How many supervisors out there remember ever saying “Next year I’m going to keep better notes” ? And how many will admit to having said it more than once?

  • #113441
    Profile photo of Megan

    I think the other side of the coin should be addressed simultaneously – i.e., ensuring that the workforce is well aware of the various options when faced with a supervisor who breaks one of “prohibited personnel practices” or EO laws. Our “No Fear Act” training is being revamped to include information about the very difficult issue of how to address hostile work environments and supervisors who overstep. Having an Agency-wide zero tolerance policy for such would be a great help.

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