Thursday, February 18, 2010

Transitioning from Staff to Supervisor

I attended a Fred Pryor seminar today called "How to Make the Transition from Staff to Supervisor." There were some fresh perspectives on traditional management material, and overall I enjoyed it. Here are some key ideas I came away with, some of which confirmed what I already believed to be true and some of which was new to me:

1. You’re not hired to make someone happy. You can only create an environment that is conducive to helping employees decide to be happy.

2. The best organizations I’ve been involved with were the best because of: passion and dedication of those affiliated, they made me feel accomplished and satisfied, there was clear direction, innovation was valued and encouraged, and there was support and communication from the top. The worst organizations I’ve been involved with were the worst because of: lack of leadership, lack of communication, no commitment from affiliates, and lack of systems or consistency. (Note: these are "organizations" I've been involved with, not necessarily places I have worked!)

3. There is a difference between managerial skills and leadership skills. Managerial skills are important to maintaining order and structure. Leadership sills are important to sustaining that order and structure. Managerial skills include: project management, time management, organizing, planning, and evaluating. Managerial skills are defined as “strategic use of means to accomplish an end.” Leadership skills include: leading by example, counseling and coaching, teaching, motivating, and listening effectively. Leadership skills are “the art of getting others to willingly do what needs to be done.” Managerial skills are the “what” needs to be done and leadership skills are the “how” to get them done.

4. What’s expected of supervisors?
a. Develop your staff to their fullest potential
b. Communicate assertively and knowledgably (not aggressively, passively, or passive-aggressively). “I have rights, you have rights, I respect your rights, and I expect you to respect mine.”
c. Make decisions for you and your staff
d. Coach and counsel. Challenge, direct, teach, reinforce.
e. Implement corrective action. “Constructive criticism” causes defensiveness. Give “feedback” instead. You are hired to optimize the staff, not punish them.

5. To avoid “no matter what I do, it’s never good enough”: Celebrate what you’ve achieved. Keep morale up by challenging employees for the next step. Recognize achievement, but continue to raise the bar.

6. Being a supervisor is a service. Your staff is your consumers. You have to meet your consumers’ expectations. Find your voice and encourage others to find theirs.

7. 45% of what people hear is from what you say and how you say it (words, articulation, grammar, tone, inflection, volume). The other 55% is visual (body language: posture, eye contact, nervous gestures).

8. 80% of inefficiencies are system-related. 20% of inefficiencies are people-related. Fix the system before you try to fix the people.

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