IDPs help employees improve performance in their current position, develop staff abilities that could enhance their promotion potential in their career field or another career field, or prepare them for managerial/supervisory positions. This chapter addresses the IDP planning process and KSA’s required for supervisory/managerial positions.
The process remains basically the same as describes in Chapter Four. However, you will need to focus your goals and develop KSAs to specifically enhance your supervisory/managerial skills. Follow the steps outlined in Chapter Four to complete your IDP and use the additional information presented here to focus your IDP and developmental activities to this goal.
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A supervisor’s job is defined as getting things done effectively through others. Although the definition seems simple, the task at best is difficult and not for everyone. This section explores the supervisor’s many roles, and what skills, knowledge and abilities a supervisor requires to succeed.
Supervisors are a vital part of every management team; they are the link between middle and executive levels of management and the employees who do the work. Supervisors must have a unique combination of technical competence, individual energy, and ability to get along with and motivate others.
A supervisors performance is measured by how well they manage the resources assigned to them and the results they get from the resources in the way of output, quality, cost control, and customer satisfaction.
Supervisory skills fall into three categories:
As a supervisor you are expected to place the organization’s goals above other job-related concerns. This means that a supervisor’s focus is towards meeting deadlines, quality and cost standards, customers needs, and employees who do the work. Supervisors plan, organize, direct, coordinate and control employees work so that organizational objectives are met.
Federal supervisors are required to perform a number of administrative duties. They must plan to reduce expenditures; utilize facilities more efficiently; improve procedures and methods; and secure effective results from people. Some of the day-to-day duties include Time and Attendance approval, training employees, developing teams, conducting meetings, performance appraisals, preparing reports, counseling employees, and striving to operate efficiently.
Supervisors take people with diverse backgrounds, skills, and interests, and build teams that can get the job done. They work with people at all levels, both inside and outside the organization and assume a leadership role for the organization. If that’s where your strengths are, then a supervisory position is for you.
Responsibility to Management – Supervisors are dedicates to agency goals, plans, and policies that are established by upper management. This does not mean that supervisors can’t influence organizational goals or effect change. In this regard supervisors carry out their occupational responsibility and communicate to upper management employee concerns.
Responsibility to the employees – Most supervisors are mentors, educators, and advocates for their employees. Employees expect their supervisors to provide direction and training, to protect them from unfair treatment, and to see that the workplace is clean, safe, uncluttered, properly equipped, well lighted, and adequately ventilated.
Another responsibility and factor that will determine a supervisors success is their ability to provide timely and succinct constructive feedback to their employees. Yet, this is one area where many supervisors are uneasy and ill prepared for the task. Read more about the benefits of constructive supervisory feedback.
Responsibility to staff specialists – The relationship between supervision and staff departments is one of mutual support. Staff people are charged with providing supervisors with guidance and help as well as pre-scribing procedures to be followed and forms to be completed. Supervisors, in turn, aid the work of the staff department by making good use of their advice and service.
Responsibility to other supervisors – Teamwork is essential in the supervisory ranks. There is a great deal of departmental interdependence. The goals and activities of one department must complement those of other departments. This may require negotiation regarding the achievement of certain short term goals in order to meet the greater good of the organization.
Responsibility to the union – In the federal sector 60% of the workforce is represented by a union. Private sector representation is approximately 13%. Union and management views often conflict. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to thoroughly understand the current union contract or contracts. There may be several unions representing different segments of your workforce. Supervisors must also keep the labor management relationships objective, maintain integrity of the department/organization and not compromise the responsibility for the welfare of the agency and its employees.
Responsibility to the customer – Increased attention to the customer’s needs. Particularly in the area of public service, supervisors need to serve the common good. Pride in the job shows through in productive performance, high morale, motivation, and initiative.
Supervisors perform a wide variety of duties depending on their jobs, their organizations and their individual abilities. Regardless of these factors, however, supervisors are usually expected to fulfill the following roles and functions:
Planning – Determining a department’s direction is typically referred to as planning. When supervisors plan, they try to identify the courses of action that appear to be the most appropriate to meet future conditions (goals) and devise programs for achieving them.
Organizing – Organizing develops the structure that will successfully carry out programs. It requires determining how to divide the total work of an organization into specific jobs and among individuals.
Leadership and Motivation – Supervisory coaching helps employees perform their work efficiently and on time. To provide this guidance, supervisors must understand how people act in organizations. Knowing what motivates people to do what they do and how to influence them through leadership to act in desired ways are two important supervisory characteristics.
Communicator – Supervisors function as information sources for their units and their employees. This activity is crucial because information must be transmitted to make decisions, and to help guide and direct the work of those in a unit. Communication and the exchange of information help a group do its job; supervisors facilitate such exchanges to ensure that all employees can complete their tasks appropriately.
Empowerment and Decision Making – In today’s federal work environment empowerment is essential to get the job done. Increased supervisor/employee ratios require supervisors to effectively delegate tasks and empower the workforce to succeed. Many organizations have reduced supervisory staffing from a ratio of 6 to 12 or more employees for every supervisor. Supervisors and managers are required to do more with less and the only way to achieve this is through empowerment.
Empowerment places the decision making authority at the lowest level possible through Partnership, Quality Circles, and Employee Involvement initiatives. Often supervisors are known by the decisions they make and they are judged by the consequences of their decisions.
Monitor and Controller – When supervisors serve as monitors they make sure that the organization’s work is being conducted and planned. Monitoring means determining that plans are being met and that sufficient progress is being made so that unexpected results do not occur. Monitoring activities are commonly referred to as control activities. Control is closely tied to planning because plans are the foundation of monitoring.
Change Agent – Organization environments change continually. Supervisors must continually plan for change and keep the organization flexible and receptive to environmental changes.
In a managerial position, the incumbent directs the work of an organization; is held accountable for the success of specific line or staff programs; monitors the progress of the organization toward goals and periodically evaluates and makes appropriate adjustments; and typically performs the full range of the following duties and responsibilities:
The first step required to obtain a managers job is to master the supervisory skills outlined earlier in this chapter. Managerial success requires sound preparation in the supervisory basics.
An excellent developmental activity is to attain supervisory and staff experience. Development is much more than just taking training courses. In fact, one of the most important developmental activities is new or OJT experience, no matter what your learning objective is. Therefore, preparation for a managerial career must include those developmental activities which will provide an opportunity to practice knowledge, skills and abilities you are developing. In practical terms, supervisory and staff positions are excellent proving grounds for managerial development.
You must also learn the art and theory of managing human, financial and material resources. Just as with any profession, the state of the management art is continually evolving. Moreover, it is a life-long study. In this high tech era, it doesn’t take long to become obsolete. You must be computer literate today, deal effectively with unions, develop partnerships, initiate employee involvement processes, and keep up with your agency’s new human resource initiatives.
Pursue formal education opportunities whenever possible. Most agencies offer tuition reimbursement for evening college courses and other college training initiative programs. The academic experience is vital to the enlightened Manager who is not satisfied with maintaining the status quo and is continually pushing his/her organization to reach above and beyond itself. It provides a perspective that cannot be obtained elsewhere and gives you an opportunity to learn from others outside the government.
Your career development and training offices offer books, video and audio taped programs, computer based instruction, and online courses for the asking. You should also explore the availability of training materials at local libraries, colleges and universities and private vendors.
Typical managerial knowledge and behaviors are included in the following assessment tool. Each is illustrated with examples to explain what the competency involves. Complete this assessment then review it with your supervisor to determine your present level of proficiency in each managerial competency. This is not a performance appraisal, nor will the results of this rating be made a part of your official personnel record; it will only be used as a starting point for your IDP.
You will already rate at or a above the level of proficiency required for acceptable performance in some of these competencies. Your IDP should focus on those competencies that require improvement. In some competencies, however, your present level of proficiency will fall short of the level of performance. These competencies will be the focus of your Individual Development Planning.
|0||No knowledge of or proficiency in the competency|
|1||Minimum knowledge level or can demonstrate this competency in simple job situations.|
|2||Intermediate knowledge level or can demonstrate this competency in routine job situations|
|3||Thorough knowledge level or demonstrate competency in complex or unusual job situations.|
A rating sheet is provided immediately following the Managerial Competencies to mark your scores. Place a checkmark in the appropriate rating block for each competency. Review your answers with your immediate supervisor during your IDP meeting.
1. Knowledge of Agency/Region/Division Organization, responsibilities and Role.
2. Know Manager’s Role.
3. Setting Objectives and Evaluating Accomplishments.
4. Making Timely Decisions.
5. Establishing Priorities.
6. Developing and Implementing Action Plans for Program Accomplishment.
7. Long Range Planning.
8. Resource Organization and Structuring.
9. Effective Delegating.
10. Developing Performance Standards and Appraising Performance.
11. Knowledge of Basic Management Support Systems, e.g., Budget,
12. Knowledge of Agency Personnel and EEO Policies.
13. Planning for Adapting to a Changing Environment.
14. Ability to Assess own Strengths and Limitations.
15. Speaking/Communicating Skills.
16. Writing Skills
17. Coaching and Counseling Subordinates.
18. Giving and Receiving Feedback Constructively.
19. Ability to Deal with Diversity in People and Viewpoints.
20. Knowledge of Various Leadership Styles.
21. Ability to Motivate Others.
22. Ability to Negotiate.
23. Familiarity with Technological Developments.
24. Ability to supervise technical work of others.
25. Know and Understand the Labor Management Relations processes.
Download a copy of the “Managerial Competencies Rating Sheet“ to evaluate your managerial competencies.