Skill Development: Resources for Supervisors & Managers

Managing Your Developmental Experiences as a Supervisor/Manager

As a supervisor or manager, there are most likely specific areas for learning and development that you will want to address in your own career development. Taking inventory of the areas that you have and haven't yet been exposed to for development is an important first step toward creating a plan with your manager for your development needs. Use the Work Experience Inventory handout (PDF) to help you take stock of areas for your development.

It is also useful to develop habits of regularly planning, acting, reflecting, and reviewing your own development progress. Building these habits in your own career management repertoire will be good modeling for your employees to do the same for their career management needs. Use the Learn From Work Experiences handout (PDF) to help guide you in your development planning.

Coaching Your Employees Through their Development Experiences

To maximize employee learning through developmental experiences, supervisors should set up regular meetings with employees to check in on progress. The following are the things that supervisors/managers should take responsibility for during these meetings:


  1. Schedule time to specifically discuss development progress
  2. Review the development plan before meeting with your employee
  3. Ensure the development areas are still areas of useful focus
  4. Evaluate your own coaching efforts
  5. Adjust milestones, goals, and timelines as needed
  6. Provide feedback after a project’s completion to discuss the positive, negative, and key lessons learned.

Use the Questions to Ask Before, During, and After Planned Development Experiences handout (PDF) to help guide you and your employees through their development experiences.

As a supervisor or manager, you have a unique opportunity to positively influence the career development of your employees while also helping the university build its talent pipeline for the future. The following list of high-impact development activities are suggestions for ways you can help employees develop.

  1. Stretching and challenging employees through work experiences
    • Sequence work and assignments such that they build on one another
    • Direct employees to career-advancing job assignments similar to ones that contributed to your success
    • Place employees in challenging situations that push them beyond their comfort zone with the goal of building their self-confidence and skills
  2. Connect employees to important relationships with others
    • Guide employees to the most influential leaders
    • Help employees build relationships with other key staff and leadership
    • Enable employees to learn from leaders – suggest they use the 3-step process described in the Getting the Advice You Need (PDF) handout to solicit useful feedback
  3. Offer your advice and guidance for the areas you have identified as your employee's most pressing areas for development
  4. Encourage employees to learn from work experiences
    • Help employees balance learning goals with work requirements
    • Provide employees with opportunities to practice new skills
    • Enable employees to reflect on learning assignments
  5. Pave your employee's path to career advancement
    • Explain what they need to accomplish or demonstrate to get promoted
    • Prepare them for successful career moves
    • Ensure that others are aware of their successes and long-term potential by passing on specific information about their achievements, the contexts in which they delivered those achievements, and how they achieved them