Supervisory Leadership

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How can service-based firms beef up their current in-house training programs?

One thing most companies can do is add quality supervisory skills training. The sad fact is that most companies don't have anything close, even though the quality of supervision at all levels is vitally important.

Research by Gallup and others indicates that the relationship with the immediate boss is the most important force affecting both productivity and worker satisfaction. The vast majority of those "immediate bosses" are first line supervisors.

Yet less than ten percent of company training budgets is aimed at first line supervisors, a number that's been dropping for a couple of years now. Sadly, even that small amount of training is devoted to workplace compliance issues or teaches supervision skills as if they were an academic subject.

Leadership, including supervisory leadership, is an apprentice trade and should be taught with the principles of a good apprentice program in mind. That means having clearing defined role models, a framework the new leader can use to integrate new learning, performance feedback and adequate time for personal development.

That will require a big change for most companies, or groups of companies, but the payoff can be a dramatic increase in long term competitive advantage and profitability.


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