University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

The Role of the Supervisor in Employee Development

The supervisor has several roles to play, but providing information and support to facilitate the employee's development is what is most important.

There are a few basic roles for a supervisor in developing employees. They include:

  • Coaching employees to help them determine what they need for development
  • Providing both positive and corrective feedback
  • Offering organizational insight, information, and advice
  • Guiding the planning through goal setting and checking back over time
  • Alloting time and money for development experiences
  • Ensuring opportunities for applications of new learning

It is very helpful for an employee to get an honest assessment of their work, as well as access to others who may be able to provide information or coach the employee.

The successful supervisor will also respect every employee's learning curve. It takes time for anyone to learn new skills and be able to apply them well; this does not happen overnight. Building this development time into the application of a new skill set will make the employee more successful.

Assessing Your Development Style

The Supervisor Self-Assessment form (pdf) can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in developing your employees.

Resources for Supervisors

The Supervisory Development Program has many courses and programs to help supervisors and managers in developing their employees.

Employee Career Services provides customized consulting and training to departments on a variety of topics including promoting professional development.