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Published July 8, 2010 by the HR Modernization Project
An effective government is supported by talented public servants. As baby boomers prepare to retire, the State of California is about to lose many of its most experienced and expert workers. This means unprecedented opportunities will be available in leadership positions with the State of California like never before.
This guide on "Preparing to Become a State Supervisor" helps current and future supervisors in all areas of State government build the skills necessary to respond to the looming talent loss in State of California supervisory positions. This guide includes a Leadership Readiness Assessment Tool to help assess your current strengths and identify growth opportunities. This guide also identifies the competencies needed to be successful as a State supervisor and provides suggested activities you can do that will help you develop supervisory competencies. Workforce Planners can also use this Guide to help build their future workforce. Agencies and Departments can download this tool and customize it to add organizational and occupational specific competencies.
The work of a supervisor can be both challenging and rewarding. Supervisors play a key role in employee performance and the delivery of essential government services to the public. Supervisors teach and lead staff and ensure their team follows department or agency policies and procedures. Supervisors align the work of their staff to strategic mission and goals. Selecting for, training to, and assessing performance of these key competencies will ensure our cadre of supervisors has what it takes to do the job. That is our goal -- "The right people in the right jobs."
The Department of Personnel Administration (now the California Department of Human Resources, CalHR) and the HR Modernization Project team encourage current and future supervisors to use this guide to develop and maintain the skills needed to lead a high performing workforce for the State of California.
Thank you for taking the time to read this guide. Encourage others to use it. Let us know what you think.
Raye Zentner, Executive Project Director
This guide will help you:
How do I use this guide?
Supervisors/managers can use this Guide to develop a career plan with the employee. Help the employee develop in ways that support your department's strategic goals. In addition, current supervisors may also find this tool useful to assess themselves and determine their own developmental activities.
It is important that you and your employee complete the
Leadership Readiness Assessment Tool separately and then meet to discuss one another's perspectives. The assessment helps you to discuss:
Employees have different training needs based upon their existing skills, knowledge, attitudes, experiences, education, responsibilities, and assignments. They have different learning patterns and respond to different learning methods. No single developmental activity will be relevant to everyone preparing to become a supervisor.
This comprehensive self-evaluation and development model was developed by the HR Modernization Project and the Department of Personnel Administration (now CalHR). It identifies the most critical competencies needed by employees preparing to become a supervisor. These competencies are based upon those identified in the
State Leadership Competency Model.
The Leadership Competency Model identifies a set of "competencies" (knowledge, skills, abilities, and on-the-job behaviors) that are needed for success as a leader with the State of California. It applies to over 980 supervisory, managerial, and executive classifications with over 16,000 incumbents. The sixteen competencies are:
The purpose of this tool is to help employees who want to prepare to become a supervisor and their supervisors/managers assess the employee against the performance requirements and competencies that will help the employee advance. The employee and supervisor/manager should complete this form separately and then meet to discuss their perspectives. The discussion should result in the development of an
Individual Development Plan (IDP/PAS).
Using these scales, rate the importance to current job and developmental need for the following:
The employee and supervisor/manager should meet and talk about the areas that have "high importance" to the employee's current job that were rated as having a "high need" for development on the assessment. These are the immediate developmental priorities since they improve current performance, as well as help the employee prepare for a supervisory position. But also discuss how the employee could develop in other areas as well.
Work together to develop an
Individual Development Plan/Performance Appraisal Summary (IDP/PAS).
For each competency, there are many developmental activities. Options include coaching, mentoring, observing experts, reading books, using on-line resources, watching videos, or taking training courses.
First look at free resources. However, if a training class is being considered, look for ones that assess knowledge and skills before and after training. That kind of assessment helps ensure that the course is effective and that the skills can be put to use back on the job.
All State employees are encouraged to enhance their skill sets and career opportunities. However, time and monetary reimbursement depend on your department's operational needs and funding and on your bargaining unit contract.
DPA rules (now CalHR) state that employee performance appraisals will be completed yearly after the initial probationary period ends.
A good performance evaluation helps employees
Consider the employee's performance, experience, training, job description (duty statement), and career goals.
Discuss the IDP/PAS immediately after probation ends, and then at least once a year. Ask the employee about on-the-job goals and career goals and how their job contributes to the strategic plan. Talk about the training or developmental activities needed to accomplish these goals. Include these goals and activities in the IDP/PAS.
Communicate continually with the employee about plans for achieving the training or developmental objectives laid out in the IDP/PAS. Refer to the IDP/PAS during the year and make any necessary changes.
Evaluate overall performance on an annual basis. Talk to the employee. Don't forget to discuss career goals and how they can be achieved.
As a supervisor/manager, you have a special role in developing your employees.
Develop an informal coaching and mentoring relationship with the employee. This will help you observe the employee's performance and provide useful feedback. Your feedback should be specific and focus on observable behavior.
Conduct quarterly formal check-ins with the employee to ensure the employee is meeting developmental goals and performing scheduled activities.
Provide specific, constructive feedback about performance and potential areas for development. You can base your feedback on both your observations and what others have told you.
Encourage, support, and reinforce the employee's efforts at professional development.
Ask your employee if your coaching is helping them develop.
Always encourage employees to participate in continuing self-development activities such as offered by schools and professional associations. However, time and monetary reimbursement depend on your department's operational needs and funding and on your bargaining unit contract. For specific information on your department policy, contact your Training Office.
When an employee takes a training course, meet before the course begins and after it ends. In the first meeting, discuss the course objectives and the outcomes you expect. After the course, ask the employee to discuss what he or she learned, how this new knowledge can enhance personal and organizational performance, and how the course will help the employee achieve career goals.
Model the behavior you expect the employee to develop.
Help the employee develop relationships with others in your department or organization. Consider assigning a formal mentor to the help the employee network with others.
You can also explore many examples of how to give constructive feedback on the web. For example, check out:
DPA rules (now CalHR) state that IDPs will be completed yearly after the initial probationary period ends.
A good IDP helps employees
Review all the duties, knowledge, skills, and abilities required in your current job. Compare those with the competencies listed in this guide. You'll discover the gap between your current job and what's needed as a supervisor.
What new skills, knowledge, and experiences would you like to acquire during the next year? Focus on improving job performance so you can meet or exceed expectations for your present job and achieve your career goals at the same time.
Work with your supervisor to create your plan for the next year.
In the IDP/PAS, under "Plans for Achieving Objectives," you and your supervisor can identify training, conferences, seminars, and other developmental opportunities offered by your department, other State departments or by outside vendors.
Remember, development doesn't just mean taking classes in a classroom. It can include:
Use the Resource Guides to find the developmental activities that will help you development the knowledge, skills, abilities, and on-the-job behaviors you need to prepare to become a State supervisor.
You may face barriers on your path to professional development. The everyday demands of your job can take all of your energy and time-if you let them. You may not get rewarded immediately for taking time to work on your development plan.
But your long-term success depends on your professional development. So does your value to the organization. Don't let barriers prevent you from achieving your goals.
Remember, no one else will take as strong an interest in your development as you.
Take responsibility for developing your skills and stay motivated.
Once you have completed your developmental activities, explore what exams are available.
Are you ready to take the exam now? Questions to consider include:
Here is a list of supervisory classifications. Keep in mind that not all the classifications are for first-level supervisory classifications.
MQs are requirements that must be met to be allowed to participate in an exam for a classification.
First-level Supervisor - Typically a working supervisor who performs the most difficult or sensitive work and supervises a small group or unit; provides day-to-day supervision in one or more functional areas.
There are many classifications that are considered a first-level supervisor.
The Staff Services Manager I classification is an example of a widely used first level supervisor classification. There are approximately 2050 positions at this level throughout the state of California. To determine if you meet the MQs, refer to the
SSM I classification specifications.
Once you are on an exam list, you may apply for vacant positions. If you want to locate vacant positions, use the
Vacant Positions Database (VPOS).
Be sure to use
E-Notify to be kept aware of vacancies that you might be interested in.
Check out the
State Jobs website and these
video tutorials for job seekers.