Previous studies have demonstrated that an autonomy-supportive supervision style is associated with improved well-being and positive behaviours for supervisees. However, autonomy-supportive training (AST) has yet to be tailored to suit supervisors in low-skilled occupations for whom traditional pedagogical approaches may be inappropriate. The purpose of this paper is to describe the development and preliminary evaluation of AST for these supervisors, using self-determination theory (SDT) and andragogical principles of adult learning.
SDT and andragogical principles were systematically integrated to develop (a 3 h) AST programme. The training sessions were trialled with 11 first-line supervisors in New Zealand as a preliminary evaluation of AST. The evaluation used open-ended questions following Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model and incorporated the trainer’s reflections.
Supervisors found AST relevant, easy to understand and suited to their approach to learning. Trainer’s reflections also provided insight into the challenges in conducting such training for supervisors in low-skilled occupations and the article makes suggestions to address these challenges.
AST can be successfully tailored to first-line supervisors, indicating that an autonomy-supportive style of leadership is relevant for those employed in low-skilled occupations. This initial evaluation provides a foundation for future studies to conduct higher-level assessment of AST.
AST can be utilised to provide first-line supervisors with access to improved leadership development opportunities. Challenges of conducting this kind of training programme in a context of low-skilled occupations are addressed and recommendations made for organisations and trainers.
This study is novel as it demonstrates the development of AST, a leadership skills training, tailored to suit the needs of an understudied group, supervisors in low-skilled occupations.
Yong, A., Roche, M. and Sutton, A. (2019), "Supervisory skills training for the neglected supervisors: development and preliminary evaluation of an autonomy-supportive programme", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 51 No. 5, pp. 315-326. https://doi.org/10.1108/ICT-01-2019-0013
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