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How to Train Employees to Be Supervisors
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How to Train Employees to Be Supervisors NSAA/NASC Joint Middle Management Conference April 16-18, 2007. Presentation by Robert Black Dean, Government Audit Training Institute Graduate School, USDA. TEST. Which role is the most challenging? Manager? Supervisor? Employee?.

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Presentation by Robert Black Dean, Government Audit Training Institute Graduate School, USDA

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Presentation by robert black dean government audit training institute graduate school usda

How to Train Employees to Be SupervisorsNSAA/NASC Joint Middle ManagementConference April 16-18, 2007

Presentation by

Robert Black

Dean, Government Audit Training Institute

Graduate School, USDA

Presentation by robert black dean government audit training institute graduate school usda


  • Which role is the most challenging?

  • Manager?

  • Supervisor?

  • Employee?

Questions to consider in training employees to be supervisors

Questions to Consider in Training Employees to be Supervisors

1. Does every employee want to be a supervisor (want to move up)?

  • Can every employee be an effective supervisor?

  • How do you know when an employee is ready to be a supervisor?

  • Should an employee be trained first, then moved up, or moved up then trained?

This discussion will cover

This Discussion Will Cover:

  • The various responsibilities of a supervisor

  • 3 steps to developing a supervisor

  • The adjustments required for moving from staff to a supervisory role

  • Power, personal styles, performance

  • Gen Xers, the New Millennials – retention and motivation

Definition of a supervisor

Definition of a Supervisor

  • One who supervises others by assigning and monitoring tasks.

Think about it

Think about it…

Responsibility cannot be delegated.

Individual exercise

Individual Exercise

  • Write down as many duties, functions, responsibilities that you can think of that should be performed by a supervisor.

    • Take one minute to make a list

    • You may be asked to share it with the group

Multi dimensional role of a supervisor

Assign tasks

Monitor work

Provide OJT





Control quality

Assess performance

Ensure EEO compliance

Enforce policy and rules

Administer leave

Communicate rules, policies, objectives

Run meetings

Multi-dimensional Role of a Supervisor

Food for thought

Food for Thought

“A manager [supervisor (added)] has got to remember that he is on stage every day. His people are watching him. Everything he does, says, the way he says it, sends off clues to his employees. These clues affect performance.”

(Manager quoted in First Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, Simon & Schuster, 1999)



What are the key components of a person’s performance?

Performance = Ability + Support + Motivation

How to approach developing a supervisor

How to Approach Developing a Supervisor

I. Ensure employee learns the basic technical aspects of the job

II. Set expectations - plan together by writing down steps leading to a supervisory role/teach HR role

III. Follow through and always model the expected behavior

Step i learning the job basics

Step I. Learning the Job Basics

Assume this is an auditor position; the auditor must be able to (among other things):

  • Research

  • Interview

  • Prepare working papers

  • Understand auditing standards

Preparing staff for a supervisory role

Preparing Staff for a Supervisory Role

  • There are two main roles for which staff must be trained:

    1. Technical

    2. Human relations

Segments of development

Segments of Development

  • Formal training

  • On-the-Job training

  • Job experiences

  • Individual development plan (IDP)

Technical role of the supervisor

Technical Role of the Supervisor

  • Define audit objectives and scope

  • Determine methodology

  • Develop audit guidelines

  • Segment work into tasks

  • Delegate and assign tasks to staff

  • Monitor audit progress

  • Review evidence and working papers

  • Review report products

Step ii set expectations and teach hr role

Step II. Set Expectations and Teach HR Role

  • This step involves a combination of discussions, demonstrations, instruction, modeling

  • Timing as to when to start and when to carry out these functions is dependent on circumstances and judgment

Human relations role of supervisors

Human Relations Role of Supervisors

  • Set expectations

  • Provide OJT and feedback

  • Monitor staff performance

  • Appraise staff performance

  • Identify developmental needs

  • Manage conflict

  • Discipline

Creating a climate for productivity

Creating a Climate for Productivity

  • Communicating

  • Motivating

  • Optimizing diversity

Required adjustments from staff to supervisor

Required Adjustments from Staff to Supervisor

In order for a staff person to become a supervisor, that person must make adjustments in 3 areas:

  • Role

  • Attitude

  • Skills

Examples of adjustments 1 role

Old ROLE to new:

Direct control over results to indirect ctl.

Work with peers to supervise former peers

Follow policies to interpret policies

Required adjustments:

Accept less direct control

Maintain role of leader

Represent the organization

Examples of Adjustments – 1. ROLE

Adjustments to 2 attitudes

Old ATTITUDES to new

Desire to/willingness to:

Be well liked/praise or criticize others

Avoid conflict/deal with conflict

Compete with others/ develop cooperation

Required adjustments:

Accept new power & relationships

Expect conflict

Shift focus to team

Adjustments to 2. ATTITUDES

Adjustments to 3 skills

Primary emphasis on technical skills to greater emphasis on human skills and broader goals:

Preparing working papers to reviewing

Outlining and drafting report segments to re- viewing for compliance with audit prog., policies, and standards

Required adjustments:

Improve skill at finding “holes” in evidence, support, etc.

Improve skill at reviewing, communicating, and advocating reports to higher levels

Adjustments to 3. SKILLS

Power is now mine


Power is the ability to influence the actions of others.










Personal styles

Personal Styles

  • In order to become a supervisor, staff must:

    a. Recognize their own managerial and interpersonal styles, and

    b. Improve their effectiveness with subordinates

Iii followthrough modeling

III. Followthrough & Modeling

  • In training staff to become supervisors, you must teach and model behaviors for them; for example:

    • Personal styles of managing

    • How to conduct meetings

    • How to handle conflict

    • Focusing on performance

Myers briggs type indicators

Extravert (E)

Sensing (S)

Thinking (T)

Judging (J)

Introvert (I)

iNtuiting (N)

Feeling (F)

Perceiving (P)

Myers Briggs Type Indicators

Think about it1

Think About It…

  • Responsibility cannot be delegated.

  • Supervisors are accountable for what others do.

Working with staff performance challenges

Working with Staff Performance Challenges

Performance system elements:

  • Task

  • Direction

  • Resources

  • Consequences

  • Feedback

  • Performer



  • Types of meetings:

    • Decision making

    • Problem solving

    • Planning

    • Feedback

    • Presentation

Planning a meeting

Desired outcomes - objectives

Who (depends on objectives)

Type: feedback, decision making, etc.





Roles (presenter, facilitator, recorder, etc.)

Decision process

Planning a Meeting

Managing conflict

Types of conflict



Aspects of conflict



Managing Conflict

Conflict management styles

Conflict Management Styles

  • Compete – position allows it; agreed to

  • Avoid – unimportant issue; time not right

  • Compromise – some leeway; resources limited

  • Accommodate – relationships more important

  • Collaborate – commitment to cooperation; time


A. Maslow (40’s & 50’s)

B. Herzberg (50’s & 60’s)

C. Deci (1970’s)

A. Hierarchy of needs – satisfy one and move up (5 needs)

B. Motivators and hygiene (maintenance) factors

C. Intrinsic motivation


Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic Motivation

  • Stems from the innate sense of accomplishment and enjoyment one gets from doing good work

  • We do something because it is worth doing

  • Performing the work makes us feel good about ourselves; we feel competent and in control

The question is not how to motivate others but

The Question is NOT how to motivate others, but…

…how can leaders create conditions under which others will motivate themselves.

Perspectives on one generation motivating another


Baby Boomers

Gen Xer’s

New Millennials

Born before 1945

Born 1945 -1964

Born 1965 – 1979

Born 1980 +

Perspectives on One Generation Motivating Another

New values in the workplace a retention issue

New Values in the Workplace -A Retention Issue

  • “Gen Xers and New Millennials have essentially said to their managers – the Matures and especially the Boomers – ‘We don’t share your definition of success. We define success differently and will pursue other rewards for our work.’” Motivating the “What’s In It For Me?” Workforce, Cam Marston, 2005

How different are they

How Different Are They?

  • For them…

  • Jay Leno has ALWAYS been host of The Tonight Show (Johnny Carson WHO?)

  • TV without “cable” is inconprehensible

  • The Cold War is just in history books

  • Going to the moon is old science

It s not about the workday

It’s not about the workday…

…it’s about the end result.

Younger workers look at what they accomplished, not how many hours they worked in a day

Up and coming supervisors have different values/expectations; their supervisees also different



  • The supervisory role is complex and challenging

  • 3 steps to developing new supervisors:

    • train (technical & HR)

    • set expectations for changing role

    • model behavior (e.g., conflict management)

  • Understand the new workforce in order to motivate and retain

Contact information

Contact Information

Robert Black

Dean, Government Audit Training Institute and Financial Management

Graduate School, USDA

Phone: 202-314-3560


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