Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for the Training You Need

As we’re all well aware, the Great Recession has greatly affected many people’s workloads.

The Lawrence Public Schools superintendent succinctly captured why in a statement about administrative cuts this week: “make no mistake, the elimination of these 11.5 positions means that all of those duties will be shared by staff members who already have full-time responsibilities.”

This affects people at all levels of the organization. Supervisors can find themselves with more staff and units reporting to them when a colleague retires and the position is not filled.

For those in these supervisory roles who never received much training in how to effectively manage people–or who received such training years ago when management models were more authoritative than is appropriate for today’s collaborative workplace–this increased responsibility can create real strains.

If this describes your situation, consider taking an active role in advocating for the training you need. Budgets are indeed tight, but the modest expenditure on training can result in huge productivity gains if the entire unit becomes more functional as a result.

And the few hundred dollars spent on a class still represents a huge savings compared with the costs of positions that have been cut.

If you’re staggering under the weight of expectations for which you don’t feel adequately prepared, be strategic: identify the problem with a solution in hand by presenting the information about the training course you need.

The Public Management Center’s The Heart of True Leadership: Supervisory Training for the Public Workforce is scheduled for next week and for September and is one route to address this gap; other organizations have options, too. Find the one you need and find a way for your organization to get you there.