How do you teach front line leaders these skills?
Most high performance skills require practice for true learning to occur. Just as practice is required to become a better golfer or to make a higher percentage of your free throws, supervisors need to practice using problem solving tools, coaching others, and developing projects. In a Great Systems! workshop, front line leaders practice while they learn. By focusing only on the key concepts that need to be learned, lecture can be minimized in favor of skill practice. My process excellence certificate processes require front line leaders to provide evidence that they have both used process improvement tools personally to make changes and stick, and they have successfully worked with their team to put improvements in place as well. Can your front line leaders prove that they have made changes that matter?
In our training, front line leaders get to practice using the tools in a team environment that they will be expected to use at work. They get immediate feedback from both their peers and the instructor on their performance. They take home a workbook that summarizes the key learnings and provides additional practice exercises that they can use back at work. They create both an action plan for further improvement AND they redesign their job so that high performance work practices can occur. Finally, they receive three months of free online coaching from the instructor as they put their action plans to work. A certificate test is also provided to supplement the completion of the learning plan itself.
What do you base your opinion of high performance supervision on?
For almost 30 years, I have both served as a trainer for front line leaders and formally been responsible for their development. I have learned the hard way about what works and what does not when it comes to supervisor training. Most importantly, I can empathize with the daily challenges that a supervisor faces on the front lines while also pushing them towards higher levels of performance. I have helped over 200 front line leaders improve their performance at work to-date, and I have some success stories that I am very proud of.
Additionally, I have seen the downside of what happens when you simply send front line leaders to a two or three day “skills development” workshop and ask them to change. This approach, simply put, will not work! In order to get consistent and effective tool use, you have to (1) require each supervisor to demonstrate tool use over time so that new habits are developed and (2) redesign their jobs so that time for tool learning and use exists. In other words, proven change must be required, time must be provided to help make that change happen, and coaching must be provided as they practice to help these people learn the skills that they have not received through their formal education.