Effective supervision and leadership are crucial for the success and engagement of organizations and their employees. However, the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges for many organizations, including staff retention and providing adequate training for new hires, especially those in management positions. Recognizing these concerns, Benchmarks has developed a groundbreaking training curriculum called “Supportive Supervision”. This comprehensive program, delivered in a face-to-face workshop format, aims to equip management and supervisory staff with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively support their teams, promote staff development, and enhance staff retention. The training is delivered in a face-to-face, four-part workshop series where participants can expect to engage in hands-on training and demonstration activities. Each workshop is followed by “homework” that is designed to assist participants in practicing these skills between workshops.
The development of “Supportive Supervision” was driven by Benchmarks’ implementation work and the expressed needs of our partners throughout North Carolina. It became evident that stakeholders faced difficulties in retaining staff and providing comprehensive training to new hires, particularly those transitioning into supervisory roles. To address this, some of our partners conducted surveys and gathered feedback from staff members, revealing a desire for more support from their supervisors. However, our partners found it challenging and overwhelming to identify curricula with specific relevance to the child welfare, behavioral health, and human services fields.
In response, Benchmarks developed the “Supportive Supervision” training to empower supervisors to effectively lead and support their teams. In addition, due to trauma exposure in these fields, the training also encourages trauma-informed organizational cultures by incorporating trauma and resiliency-informed concepts throughout the curriculum to emphasize the importance of mirroring these concepts in staff supervision.
Key Objectives of Supportive Supervision Training:
- Effective Communication: Clear communication is critical to supervision and creating a safe learning environment. The curriculum emphasizes the role of effective communication in building strong relationships, providing feedback, and addressing challenges. Participants gain practical skills to enhance communication with their teams.
- Leveraging Staff Strengths: Recognizing, using, and building on the natural strengths of staff members is essential for their growth and job satisfaction. The training equips supervisors with techniques to identify and leverage these strengths, fostering an environment that nurtures talent and promotes employee success.
- Goal Setting and Value Clarification: The training introduces goal setting and value clarification exercises as powerful tools to increase staff satisfaction and engagement. Participants learn how to use staff goals and their expressed values to align individual and organizational goals, fostering a sense of purpose and direction.
- Modeling Self-Care and Boundaries: Supervisors play a vital role in promoting self-care and establishing healthy boundaries within their teams. This curriculum focuses on modeling appropriate self-care practices by sharing strategies to help managers and supervisors navigate appropriate boundary setting in the workplace.
- Active Learning for Staff Development: Differentiating between active and passive learning is crucial for effective staff development. “Supportive Supervision” emphasizes the importance of active learning and provides supervisors with strategies to create opportunities for active learning within their teams, promoting growth and professional development.
- Addressing Challenges: Supervisors often face challenges when working with their teams. This training equips participants with the skills to identify and respond appropriately to these challenges, fostering a positive and constructive work environment.
Investing in “Supportive Supervision” will assist agencies in cultivating an environment where staff feel comfortable being vulnerable, sharing their thoughts, feelings, and feedback, learning new skills, and embracing growth.