As a supervisor, you have a lot of responsibilities and challenges in your role. You have to manage the day-to-day operations, oversee the performance and well-being of your employees, communicate effectively with your superiors and peers, and ensure the quality and safety of your work.
But do you also have the skills and the desire to be a leader?
Leadership is not just a position or a title. It is a mindset and a skillset that can help you achieve your goals, inspire your team, and make a positive difference in your organization and beyond.
Leadership skills are not something that you are born with or that you can learn overnight. They are something that you have to develop and practice over time, through training, coaching, feedback, and experience.
Who wouldn't want to be a leader?
Not every supervisor wants to be a leader or is ready for leadership skills development.
- Some supervisors may feel that they are already doing a good job and that they don’t need any extra investment.
- Some supervisors may feel that leadership skills are not relevant or important for their role or industry.
- Some supervisors may feel that leadership skills are too difficult or complex to learn or apply.
- And some supervisors may simply not have the interest or the motivation to become leaders.
If you are a manager or an employer who wants to train your frontline supervisors in leadership skills, you may face some resistance or reluctance from some of them. You may think that the best way to deal with this is to force them to attend the training or to make it mandatory for everyone. However, this may not be the most effective or the most respectful approach.
Forcing supervisors who don’t want to be trained or who think they don’t need the extra investment may backfire and cause more problems than solutions. It may make them feel punished, resentful, or demoralized. It may lower their engagement and satisfaction with their work. It may also waste your time, money, and resources, as they may not pay attention, participate, or apply what they learn.
What to do instead?
A better approach is to start with only the supervisors who are excited and enthusiastic about this type of training and the kinds of rewards it can bring them. These are the supervisors who have a growth mindset, who are eager to learn and improve, who are open to feedback and change, and who aspire to be leaders.
By starting with these supervisors, you can create a positive and supportive learning environment, where they can learn from each other, share their experiences and insights, and receive personalized feedback and coaching. You can also create a culture of excellence and recognition, where you can acknowledge their achievements, celebrate their successes, and reward their efforts.
By doing so, you can also create demand and curiosity from other supervisors who see their co-supervisors getting ahead. They may wonder what they are missing out on, what they can gain from the training, and how they can join the program. They may also see the positive results and outcomes that the trained supervisors are producing, such as improved performance, increased productivity, enhanced innovation, and higher customer satisfaction.
This way, you can gradually and organically expand your training program to include more supervisors who are willing and ready to become leaders. You can also tailor your training program to meet the different needs and levels of your supervisors, and to address the specific challenges and opportunities of your organization and industry.
Ask them if they want to develop.
That means, you have to ask each of your supervisors, one at a time, whether they have an interest in developing themselves. You need to get their commitment to work the program, to put into practice what they learn, and to communicate with you on how they are doing. Before you do anything, find out if they will commit to their development - and it may also show you who is ready to step up as a leader.
Not every supervisor wants to be a leader or is ready for leadership skills development. That’s why you need to be strategic and respectful in how you approach and implement your training program. By starting with only the supervisors who are excited and enthusiastic about this type of training and the kinds of rewards it can bring them, you can create a positive and supportive learning environment, a culture of excellence and recognition, and demand and curiosity from other supervisors who see their co-supervisors getting ahead.
Training your frontline supervisors in leadership skills is one of the best investments that you can make for your organization. It can help you improve your organizational performance and well-being, as well as your reputation and image. It can also help you attract and retain talent, customers, and partners.
If you want to learn more about how to train your frontline supervisors in leadership skills, I invite you to check out my forthcoming new book, The CareFull Supervisor: The Skills to Succeed and Be the Supervisor Employees Want to Have (coming January 2024).
In the book, I share the concept and principles of CareFull Supervision, which is a new approach to leadership and management that focuses on caring for your employees as human beings, not just as workers. I also provide you with practical tips and strategies that you can use to develop and improve your leadership skills as a frontline supervisor.
You can also check out our PeopleWork Supervisor leadership development program. This is the program that The CareFull Supervisor book is based on.