Supervisors Preliminary Programme for a part of Cambridge Univeristy

Here is a course outline, I suggested way back.

Key Areas to be addressed:

Communication/team working (both within their own teams and the team of supervisors).

Conflict resolution.


Working with different people and adapting their management/supervisory skills to the needs of the person.



From previous experience of the supervisors they are practically oriented and as a group, learn best through action based learning. As such having lengthy discussions and an overly theoretical approach is not likely to draw out points for improvement. I have chosen some action based exercises which simulate some common areas of difficulty together with some theoretical input. In having an experience the participants will have a non confrontational basis for general discussions. The points raised are transferable to day to day work without the need for finger pointing. As a group they were largely resistant to planning as a concept, feeling that their mode was to be responsive / reactive to external demands placed upon them.  One of the difficulties they encountered was sudden unexpected request for service which they did not feel empowered to reject. As such they did a lot of “fire fighting”. In order to look into this I would recommend that I spend one day or half a day within the unit, so that I might better understand the mechanics of its work. Based on this I would be able to refine the provisional programme outlined below.

Day One Understanding Self and Communication
9:00Introduction and Scene Setting 
9:15Objective Setting In Pairs    
Introduce “Rumours” exercise  
Participants to Set Objectives and display publicly on room wall.
These to be checked back to during course
A Rumour is started and will be reviewed later in course.
Purpose to highlight spread and accuracy of rumours.
9:30-11:00MBTI IntroductionMBTI psychometric testing
Highlights differing personality styles, needs and approaches to life Specific focus on improvisation / planning preferences
Detail / Bigger Picture
Introversion / Extraversion
Logic / Feelings 
Highlight How People Differ
11:15:12:00Type and CommunicationLearning to use differences constructively
12:12:45Communication FlowsMapping out communication networks
Map how communications flow or otherwise within the unit
12:45:13:00ReviewSumming up of where things are.
Check back to objectives.
13:45–14:45The Jeremy Kyle Show

Introduction to Transactional Analysis.  
Brief excerpt to show “good” communication
Introduction to Transactional Analysis.
Parent / Adult / Child 
Discussion and Role Playing.
Need for Detachment as opposed to “Taking it Personally”
14:45-15:30Colour Block
Communication Shut Downs
Exercises to Demonstrate information overflow and how Communications are Shut Down

15:30-15:45Tea / Coffee 
15:45-16:30I have A Secret
Active Listening
Example and use of Active Listening and facilitation to draw out “secrets” from each other.
16:30-17:15Sheep and Shepherd

Planes Trains and Automobiles
Exercise to practice communication under difficult conditions.

Delegation and communication.
17:15-18:00Review of DayDraw together all salient points during the day
Check back to Objectives and add to these for Day two
Day Two Bring it Home
9:00-9:30What are the Difficulties You Encounter?Fact Finding Discussion
9:30–11:00Plans, Planning, Strategy  

Workflow Analysis in the Unit
Models for planning, including inventory, fire-fighting, personnel, outward and inward facing.

Facilitated planning moving forward for operation of the unit.

What elements need to change and how to change them?
11:00-11:15Tea / Coffee 
11:15–12:00Card TraderExercise in delegation, negotiation and planning with review.
This often causes conflict
12:00–13:00Conflict ResolutionDiscussion and Role Play with Agendas and Observers.
Academic, Ph.D Student, Manager, Supervisor, Technician
Review on this using Transactional Analysis
Look at Power Imbalances
13:45-14:30Causes of Conflict and Conflict Mitigation by Timely CommunicationUnderstanding Common Root Causes for Conflicts.
How planning and communication can mitigate these.
Draw in result from “Rumours” to aid Discussion  
14:13 -15:00I need to Communicate With…Participants pick two people with whom they need to communicate better with.
They discuss in pairs / small groups how to do this and agree action points as to how to go about this, which are specific and dated.
15:00-15:15Tea Coffee 
15:15- 16:00Stick or Carrot?Looking at different working cultures.
Is escalation a good thing?
Look back to Jeremy Kyle Show.
How small scale clear direction is empowering for staff.
In other words it is OK to delegate and not micro mange provided that clear, unambiguous direction is given  
16:00 – 17:00Course Wrap UpRefer back to Objectives
What are WE going to take forward?
When are WE going to do this by?
How will WE know we have done this?