People who manage people: Let’s set supervisors up for success

A free webinar on June 1 from 10am-11pm Pacific on how we can set people who manage people up for greater success

The staff turnover that has happened over the past few years—and it still happening in many workplaces—is taking its toll on our nonprofit leaders. Executive Director’s are tired restaffing and then training new people in supervisory positions. People in those new positions aren’t thriving because they haven’t been trained on how to lead teams or supervise staff or volunteers.

When the same topic comes up five times in a week, you start to think there is a system problem at play. Indeed, LinkedIn Learning recently cited upskilling and employee retention as two of their top focus areas. I won’t cite the many training and development articles that name the need for training and development as a core function to retain staff—of course they think their own industry is the solution. But isn’t it? Aren’t people more likely to stay in a job, experience the joy of improved performance, and generally be happier if they are given the knowledge, tools, and coaching they need to thrive?

Which brings me to June 1. About a month ago, HR expert and leadership consultant Skye Mercer and I had an email exchange about our common experience talking with nonprofit leaders about the need for supervisor training. We decided to take our conversation into the public space and offer an interactive webinar that dives into the why, what, and how related to implementing more intentional supervisor training.

Think about it this way: Imagine a nonprofit educator and HR expert walk into a bar They sit down on one of those revolving bar stools next to an exasperated food bank Executive Director who is discovering the knowledge gaps of a warehouse manager just promoted to a team lead position. What would they talk about?

A preview into what I’m thinking:

  • Supervisor learning and development involves both the “boss” and the new supervisor. (I say “boss” because “supervisor’s supervisor” is clunky, and that person may be the ED or CEO or may be in a different role.) The magic happens when we go beyond formal training and consider the coaching and performance support that provides “just in time” feedback.
  • We need to engage these new supervisors in effective, evidence-based training and development. This isn’t going to shock anyone here, but we know a lot about cognitive overload, memory, and behavior change to lean on. I think about Emma Weber’s work on learning transfer; we can integrate focus, reflection, and accountability into our approach so supervisors develop into effective team and organizational leaders. Let’s maximize the time we have applying what we know about our brains and bodies.
  • Nonprofits can’t do it alone. Associations have a role to play in supporting supervisor development. Small nonprofits in particular don’t have enough professional development dollars to hire a leadership coach (sadly). And funders, you can support the causes you care about by investing in the development of the people rising into supervisory positions.

The webinar is June 1 from 10am-11pm Pacific. Space is limited, so register soon if you are interested. All registrants will get the recording.

Welcome to the conversation!

Published by Nancy

I work at the intersection of learning, nonprofits, and leadership. I am a teacher, instructional designer, and nonprofit person who has worn every hat possible. I regular write, speak, and consult on learning strategy, design, and leadership.

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