Critical Skills for Supervisors

Length: 1 Day

Learning Method:


CSS is a one day program focuses on improving three skill sets:

  1. Delegate With Empowerment (3 hrs)
  2. Communicate to Mediate (2 hrs)
  3. Handling Conflict on the Job (2 hrs)

The complete class includes 54 visuals and 13 exercises. All exercises are interactive, either involving role plays or brief group discussions. Videotaping is not designed into the platform class. But, videotaping can be added for all three modules. Depending on the size of the class, that expands the time to 1½‐2 days. Each module can be (and has been) separated out and taught independently. Or, you can mix‐and-match. The key word is flexibility. An overview of each module follows.

Delegate with Empowerment

Twenty‐two visuals and 8 exercises present a format for a meeting between a manager and their direct-report. The supervisor’s intent is to delegate a task in a way that effectively empowers the employee to succeed. Supervisors learn how to:

  1. Open the meeting with language that clearly communicates its purpose
  2. Tell the employee why the task is being delegated to them
  3. Overview the task, complete with deadlines and deliverables
  4. Define the authority that empowers the employee to succeed
  5. Listen to & probe the employee’s response
  6. Isolate any hurdles that the employee anticipates
  7. Discuss solutions to the challenges those hurdles pose
  8. Summarize the employee’s understanding and check for agreement
  9. Define a follow-up plan to monitor the employee’s progress

Communicate to Mediate

Seventeen visuals and two exercises present a plan for structuring a three-­‐way conversation involving two disputing employees and their supervisor. The supervisor’s goals is to lead a fair and open discussion concerning the dispute. The ultimate objective is to reduce hostility enough to allow productive work to resume. Supervisors learn to:

  1. Set a stage that favors no one party—a neutral setting
  2. Clear the ground rules with both employees at the start of the meeting
  3. Gather each employee’s perception of the dispute without interruption
  4. Summarize each position without bias
  5. Maintain order and civility when emotions threaten to disrupt the process
  6. Maintain their impartiality (via refractive listening skills)
  7. Transition the meeting into a search for a resolution
  8. Close with a follow‐up plan that holds both parties accountable

Handling Conflict on the Job

Fifteen visuals and three exercises present a method for responding to conflict when the supervisor receives an accusation from an employee—be it a direct report, a peer, or a superior. The supervisor’s objective is to keep their composure and thoroughly listen to the other party’s position before expressing their own. Supervisors learn how to:

  1. Respond to hostility in a way that avoids the React Trap of defensiveness
  2. Listen actively to the perceptions being communicated by the upset employee
  3. Probe for the issue that is important from the other person’s perspective
  4. Summarize the other person’s position before stating your own
  5. Claim your own position concerning the dispute
  6. Bridge to the future by soliciting a solution to the dispute
  7. Summarize agreements as well as the unresolved elements of the dispute

Who Should Attend:

Senior managers, directors, vice presidents and other executives, as well as mid-level managers, high potentials and others in positions of leadership.