Six Key Components that will develop your Supervisors into Leaders

by | Nov 19, 2020 | Operations, People

All too often when we realize our Supervisors need more skills, we sign them up for a training program and wipe our hands, thinking the job is done. The Supervisors probably do need to learn new skills, but there is so much more that needs to happen for the Supervisors to effectively use these skills back on the job.

There are six key components that all need to work together to create Supervisor Success.


Too many training sessions are still conducted with the attendees sitting and listening and looking at a PowerPoint presentation. Adults learn best through practical, hands-on activities, directly followed by applying the new skills back on the job and getting feedback on how they did. Supervisors need to learn from someone who knows manufacturing and can help them relate what they are learning to their real job in the manufacturing environment.


Supervisors need a leader in the company that they can go to while on the job to get advice, ask questions and even practice conversations they need to have with their employees, not only during the learning process but for the long term.


As initiatives come and go, one leader in the company needs to be the champion and make sure the development of the Supervisors and employees continue. This includes defining and measuring what will be different in the business when development continues consistently and intentionally, setting clear expectations for development and job performance, building development efforts into the annual budget and standing for development when short-term focus works to stop it.


Supervisors are often measured on regular production metrics like production throughput. Do their metrics really match all of their job expectations, like training, coaching and developing the skills of their people? To reinforce leadership, the measures must reflect a larger business impact, such as, employee retention and internal employee promotions.


Development is a journey, not an event. Once Supervisors feel confident in their role, they need to be encouraged to develop others. They may need help on how to do this. They will need coaching on how their role and skills need to change and evolve as they build the skills of their people.


As with any manufacturing process, we need to document, audit and reinforce the successful process to sustain it over time.

How does your Supervisor Development program measure up? To take a brief self-assessment, go to Contact Gayle at, 612-791-8981, or LinkedIn to discuss your self-assessment results.

About the author: Gayle Noakes spent 20 years working in manufacturing companies. She now owns Gayle Noakes Supervisor Success, working with manufacturing companies to build the skills of their front-line Supervisors.