50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

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Training Objective: Define the role of the supervisor;Develop key supervisory skills, including planning, organizing, and controlling; Improve communication skills; Develop skills for running effective meetings. Activities Cover: Discipline; Planning and setting objectives; Decision making; Problem solving

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Activity 1: Busy fools?

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Preparation

Photocopy Exercise 1.1 for each participant.

Method

1. Give a copy of Exercise 1.1 to each participant, and ask the participants to spend a few minutes writing down what they achieve during their workday.

2. Should the participants find the question difficult to answer, ask them to write down the most important things that they do during their workday or week.

3. When the participants have finished their lists, ask them to spend a few more minutes trying to indicate the amount of time, either in hours or percentages, they spend on each item on the list during their workday or week.

4. When time allocations have been completed, ask the participants to examine their lists and mark the items with an asterisk that they consider actual achievements.

5. Then invite each participant to call out the total number of items on the list followed by the number of items marked with an asterisk.

6. Ask each participant how much of their working time is spent in achieving.

 

Activity 2: Can I have tomorrow off?

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Preparation

1. Test the equipment.

2. Include copies of Exercise 2.3 in conference packs or hand them out before this activity.

Method

1. Read aloud the description in Exercise 2.1 and ask for a volunteer to play the part of the supervisor. If no one volunteers, select someone.

2. Give the chosen supervisor a copy of Exercise 2.1 and ask him or her to leave the room and plan an appropriate approach.

3. When the supervisor has left the room, read aloud the subordinate’s description in Exercise 2.2 and provide the extra piece of information to the remaining participants.

4. Ask for a volunteer to play the subordinate. If no one volunteers, select someone.

5. Position the subordinate in front of the camera and invite the supervisor back into the room to role play the situation.

6. Ask the other participants to observe and make notes on

Exercise 2.3.

7. Start the camera and signal the participants to begin.

8. Allow the two participants to bring the role play to a natural conclusion. Resist the temptation to influence.

 

Activity 3: Cafeteria Scuffle

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Preparation

1. Study the Trainer Guidance and Conclusion sections.

2. Photocopy the case study for each subgroup.

Method

1. Divide the group into subgroups of three or four people.

2. Read aloud the case study in Exercise 3.1 and give each subgroup a copy.

3. Explain that the subgroups may ask any questions of the trainer during the activity.

4. Inform them that at the end of 20 minutes, a spokesperson from each subgroup will be asked to explain what action that group would take to deal with the situation and to explain how they arrived at their decision.

5. The subgroups need to consider what appropriate disciplinary action the company should take and how a shift supervisor should deal with the situation with no manager on site.

Trainer Guidance

In this complicated case study, subgroups will have to decide what the real issues are and which facts have a bearing on the decision.

Was one or other of the employees provoked? Did the trouble between them originate at work or outside of work? It was well known that company policy stated that anyone involved in fighting was summarily dismissed. Should both men be treated in the same way?

 

Activity 4: Did you hear that?

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Preparation

Photocopy Exercises 4.1 through 4.8 for each participant.

Method

1. Divide the entire group into teams of seven.

2. Each team consists of six members and an observer.

3. The team of six is to form a task force that will be given an instruction sheet (Exercise 4.1).

4. The observer is given a different instruction sheet (Exercise

4.2) and will not join in the activity. Observers are to record what they see and hear and report the findings to the entire group at the end.

5. When the task force(s) have been formed, hand the solution sheet (Exercise 4.1) to one member in each.

6. When the task force(s) have read the instructions, hand out an information sheet (Exercises 4.3 through 4.8) to each of the individual members.

7. Start the task and stop it after 30 minutes.

8. Reassemble the teams into the entire group for feedback.

9. Assess the results and see if any team completed the tasks.

10. Ask members of the team for their comments, in turn, about how well they worked together. Then invite the observer(s) to report their findings.

 

Activity 5: Don’t Ask

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Equipment

• Camcorder

• Playback monitor

Materials

• Notepaper and pens or pencils for the contributors and observers

• Flipchart stand, paper, and marker pens

Preparation

You may wish to complete Activities 34, 45, and 24 with the participants before doing this one.

Method

1. Ask for problem statements from the participants and allow the group to choose one to work on in this activity.

2. Whoever calls out the problem chosen by the group adopts the role of the “problem owner” in the meeting simulation.

3. Select a participant to take the role of the process leader whose job is to lead the meeting through the stages of the problem.

4. Select an additional four or five participants to take part in the meeting simulation as contributors.

5. Ask the remaining participants of the group to observe and take notes on what they see happening during the meeting.

6. The objective of the meeting is to arrive at a solution for the chosen problem.

7. Ask the first meeting group to take their place in front of the camera and tell them that they have a maximum of 15 minutes to arrive at a solution for the problem.

 

Activity 6: Don’t Look at Me in That Tone of Voice

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Method

1. Distribute copies of Handouts 6.1 and 6.2 to each participant.

2. Select two volunteers for the first solution.

3. Explain that the volunteers will be given a common workplace situation to act out.

4. Invite suggestions from the other participants for a situation.

5. The pair are to start as they would normally behave as a supervisor and a subordinate in the given situation.

6. After 20 to 30 seconds, call out a feeling. The two volunteers have to express that feeling using body language and gestures while continuing the conversation. The other participants should record, on Handout 6.2, the most obvious part of the body being used in any particular gesture.

7. Call out a different feeling every 30 seconds or so and allow the exercise to continue for approximately 3 minutes.

8. Select two new volunteers for the next situation.

9. Repeat the activity for each pair of participants.

10. Discussion can take place after each round or at the end.

 

Activity 7: Drinking on Site

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Preparation

1. Read the Trainer Guidance and Conclusion sections.

2. Photocopy Exercise 7.1 for each syndicate subgroup.

Method

1. Divide the group into subgroups of three or four people.

2. Read aloud the case study in Exercise 7.1 and give one copy to each subgroup.

3. Explain that the participants may ask any questions of the trainer for guidance during the activity.

4. At the end of the 20 minutes, ask a spokesperson from each subgroup to explain what action their group would take to deal with the situation and to explain how they arrived at their decision.

5. Have the subgroups consider what appropriate disciplinary action the company should take and how a shift supervisor should deal with the situation with no manager on site.

Trainer Guidance

Questions that groups should consider include the following: Can the supervisor overlook the incident? A seemingly innocent lapse of memory could cost the employee his job. It is the first reported incident since the ban. Is there a precedent at stake? Does it matter that the incident has taken place long after the employee’s shift has finished?

 

Activity 8: Extension 246

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Materials

A copy of Exercise 8.1 for the supervisor

A copy of Exercise 8.2 for the subordinate

A copy of Exercise 8.3 for each of the other participants

Flipchart stand, paper, and marker pens

Preparation

1. Test the equipment.

2. Include Observer’s Comment Sheet (Exercise 8.3) in conference packs or hand them out before this activity.

Method

1. Read the role play in Exercise 8.1 and ask for a volunteer to play the part of the supervisor. If no one volunteers, select someone.

2. Give the supervisor a copy of Exercise 8.1 and ask the participant to leave the room and plan his/her approach.

3. When the supervisor has left the room, read aloud the subordinate’s description in Exercise 8.2 and provide the extra piece of information to the remaining participants.

4. Ask for a volunteer to play the subordinate. If no one volunteers, select someone.

5. Position the subordinate in front of the camera and invite the supervisor back into the room to role play the situation.

 

Activity 9: Give Them the Easy Life

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Materials

• A copy of Exercise 9.1 for each participant

• Pens or pencils for the participants

• Flipchart stand, paper, and markers for the trainer

Preparation

Photocopy Exercise 9.1 for each participant.

Method

1. Distribute a copy of Exercise 9.1 to each participant.

2. Ask each participant to spend a few minutes writing down in the first column the features of their job that they feel are really important.

3. Allow 2 to 3 minutes for the group to write down their answers.

4. Then ask the participants to number the items on the list according to the priority.

5. Ask the participants to write down in the third column a list of features about their jobs that they feel are important to their subordinates or their team. In other words, what do they think their team thinks is really important?

6. Then ask the group to number the items on their team’s list according to the priority the team would place on that item.

7. Ask the participants, one by one, to read aloud the two top priority tasks from their own list and the two top priority items from the team’s list.

 

Activity 10: Give Us a Clue

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Preparation

You may wish to complete Activities 34, 45, 24, and 5 with the participants before conducting this one.

Method

1. Ask for problem statements from the participants and allow the group to choose one to work on in this activity.

2. Whoever calls out the problem chosen by the group adopts the role of the problem owner in the meeting simulation.

3. Select a participant to take the role of the process leader whose job is to lead the meeting through the stages of the problem.

4. Select an additional four or five participants to take part in the meeting simulation as contributors.

5. Ask the remaining participants of the group to observe and take notes on what they see happening during the meeting.

6. The objective of the meeting is to arrive at a solution for the chosen problem.

7. Ask the meeting group to take their place in front of the camera and tell them that they have a maximum of 15 minutes to arrive at a solution for the problem.

8. Start the recording and signal the problem owner to tell the group what the problem is in order to start the meeting.

 

Activity 11: Giving Instructions

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Method

1. Introduce the activity by suggesting that an important part of a supervisor’s job is being able to give clear instructions.

2. Explain that this activity is a short test to find out how well supervisors can follow instructions.

3. Distribute Exercise 11.1 face down, one to each participant.

4. Announce that the participants will be given 2 minutes to complete the test and that they are not to start until told to do so.

5. Look at your watch and announce the start.

Trainer Guidance

All participants will turn over the test paper and most, if not all, will immediately start to write. Because of the time pressure the participants will assume that they understand the instructions written at the top of the page.

Within a minute or so, some will begin to sit up, put down their pens, and fold their arms while the others continue to write. To maintain the pressure, after 1 minute announce that there is 1 minute left. By the time the 2 minutes have elapsed, most participants will have stopped writing and will be sitting smiling at the fact that they were caught by the trick. If others continue to write at 2 minutes do not stop the test but let them continue until they discover the trick for themselves.

 

Activity 12: Good morning, my name is…

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Activity 13: Half speed?

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Preparation

1. Test the equipment.

2. Include copies of Exercise 13.3 in conference packs or hand them out before this activity.

Method

1. Read aloud the role play in Exercise 13.1 and ask for a volunteer to play the part of the supervisor. If no one volunteers, select someone.

2. The supervisor is given a copy of Exercise 13.1 and asked to leave the room and plan his or her approach.

3. When the supervisor has left the room, read aloud the subordinate’s role play and provide the extra piece of information to the remaining participants.

4. Ask for a volunteer to play the subordinate. If no one volunteers, select someone.

5. Position the subordinate in front of the camera and invite the supervisor back into the room to role play the situation.

6. Ask the other participants to observe and make notes on

Exercise 13.3.

7. Start the camera and signal the participants to begin.

8. Allow the role play to come to a natural conclusion by the two participants. Resist the temptation to influence.

 

Activity 14: Have you got the power?

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Preparation

• You may wish to use this activity in conjunction with Activities

34, 45, 24, 5, and 10.

• Photocopy Handout 14.1 for each participant.

Method

1. Select a “problem owner” from among the participants and ask the person to read aloud his or her problem statement.

2. Assume the role of process leader and write the problem statement on the flipchart while the problem owner gives the background and ideal solution.

3. Ask for solutions from the other participants who will assume the role of contributors.

4. Record each idea on the flipchart.

5. Allow the idea generation phase of the problem-solving process to come to a natural conclusion.

6. Invite the problem owner to evaluate the ideas.

7. Ask the problem owner to select ideas that are new, appealing, and feasible.

8. Invite the problem owner to compile the selected ideas into a preferred solution that will form the basis of an action plan.

9. Ask questions to make sure the problem owner really does have the power to implement the proposed course of action.

 

Activity 15: How high?

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Materials

A copy of Exercises 15.1 and 15.2 for each pair

Pencils or pens for the participants

Flipchart stand, paper, and marker pens

Sugar cubes or other such small objects (about two or three handfuls for each pair)

Preparation

Photocopy Exercise 15.1 for half of the group and Exercise 15.2 for the other half.

Method

1. Select pairs for this activity or alternatively ask the group to select partners.

2. Distribute a copy of Exercise 15.1 to one partner in each pair, and Exercise 15.2 to the other, and ask the participants not to show their sheet to their partners.

3. Explain that partner A will give instructions to partner B for a task that will take about five minutes to complete.

4. Partner B will then give partner A instructions for a task that will also last for about five minutes.

5. At the end of both tasks, both partners will return to their places for a summary.

6. Ask the participants, in turn, what their reactions were to the instructions that they received.

 

Activity 16: I wanna tell you a story!

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Preparation

None

Method

1. Explain that all the participants in the group are going to join in telling a story.

2. One person will start and then after a few sentences will stop and hand over the story to the next person.

3. That person will then add a few more sentences to the story and pass it on, and so on around the room.

4. Stop the story at any point after all the participants have contributed.

5. Ask the participants to describe what was happening during the storytelling.

10. Write the answers on the flipchart.

Trainer Guidance

This activity can be used in conjunction with other activities associated with creativity, creative problem solving, and communications.

However, you may also wish to use it as an energizer or icebreaker.

Explain to the group that there are no rules, the story can be as wild and imaginative as the participants want to make it. Anything goes!

You can either start the story off yourself or select someone to start and then join in.

 

Activity 17: It looks okay to me!

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50 Activities for Developing Supervisory Skills

Preparation

1. Test the equipment.

2. Include copies of Exercise 17.3 in conference packs or hand them out before this activity.

Method

1. Read the role play in Exercise 17.1 aloud and ask for a volunteer to play the part of the supervisor. If no one volunteers, select someone.

2. The supervisor is given a copy of the role play and is asked to leave the room and plan his or her approach.

3. When the supervisor has left the room, read aloud the subordinate’s role play in Exercise 17.2 and provide the extra piece of information to the remaining participants.

4. Ask for a volunteer to play the subordinate. If no one volunteers, select someone.

5. Position the subordinate in front of the camera and invite the supervisor back into the room to role play the situation.

6. Ask the other participants to observe and make notes on

Exercise 17.3.

7. Start the camera and signal the participants to begin.

8. Allow the role play to come to a natural conclusion by the two participants. Resist the temptation to influence.

 

Activity 18: It Works Both Ways

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