Essential Skills for New McGill Supervisors

This dynamic program aims to build and support the managerial capacity and network of McGill’s New Supervisors. Through a mix of structured and experiential learning activities, new supervisors to McGill (as well as M’s who are new to the supervisory role) will engage in collective learning and exchange. 

We know that real learning occurs primarily through experience rather than in formal learning environments, so it is from this vantage point that we are providing an effective hybrid model (Structured Learning Sessions and Learning Circles) for our supervisory training needs. For more information on this program, please email joan.vickers [at] or jessica.scittarelli [at]

If you are interested in this program, please complete the registration form by August 14th, 2024.

Essential Skills for New McGill Supervisors Program - Fall 2023 cohort Calendar



Launch Session:

  • Overview of Program
  • Supporting a Healthy Hybrid and Inclusive Workplace


September 19, 2024


9:00 - 12:00

1. Managing, Leading and Delegating October 2, 2024

10:00 - 12:00

Learning Circle 1 October 8, 2024 10:00 - 11:30
2. Building your Coaching Skills October 16, 2024

10:00 - 12:00

Learning Circle 2 October 22, 2024 10:00 - 11:30

3. Managing in a Unionized Environment


    Performance Dialogue

October 29, 2024


October 30, 2024

10:00 - 12:00


10:00 - 12:00

Learning Circle 3 November 6, 2024 10:00 - 11:30
4. Managing Conflict: Toward a Healthy and Productive Workplace for All November 13, 2024 10:00 - 12:00
Learning Circle 4 November 20, 2024 10:00 - 11:30
5. Planning Strategies and Actions - Measuring Success November 27, 2024 10:00 - 12:00
Program Wrap-up Session December 10, 2024 10:00 - 11:30

Description of the Workshops & the Learning Circles


Hot Air Balloons taking offIn order to encourage a sense of belonging and connection to McGill's Supervisors’ network, our Essential Skills launch will be "in person". This 3-hour mandatory session will include an overview of the program, important dates and descriptions of the sessions. In addition, participants will be exploring what it means, as a supervisor to support a healthy hybrid and inclusive workplace.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Workshop 1: Managing, Leading & Delegating

Group of individuals hiking on a mountain.The Situational Leadership Model serves as a valuable frame of reference to ensure that supervisors are meeting their employees and teams “where they are”. An important piece of the puzzle involves understanding your supervisory role in the context of change – sometimes integrating new employees, and at other times inviting seasoned employees to do new things. Providing the optimal amount of direction and relational involvement is both an art and a science. Building on the Situational Leadership model, we will engage you in exploring the likely leadership needs of those you supervise as they move towards increasing levels of autonomy (e.g. clarity around expectations, roles and responsibilities, timely information and recognition, knowledge documentation/transfer, delegation, feedback loops, etc.).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Workshop 2: Building your Coaching Skills

Two individuals having a conversation on a bench outside.In these times of change, a supervisor’s coaching skills are more vital than ever to maintain employee engagement, productivity, and accountability. This workshop will assist you in identifying and preparing for coaching opportunities to help your employees develop their technical and behavioral competencies that will in turn maximize their contribution.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Workshop 3: Managing in a Unionized Environment OR Performance Dialogue

A handshakeManaging in a Unionized Environment: In this session, supervisors will gain an overview of the different employee groups and collective agreements at McGill, and the implications for managing effectively in this unionized environment. We will highlight key considerations, explore potential myths and misconceptions, and discover ways in which you can engage your unionized staff, building on tried and true initiatives at McGill. You will participate in scenarios familiar to our McGill environment and explore ways of managing them most effectively.                                                                                               

Two people having a conversationPerformance Dialogue: This session provides an opportunity for supervisors to explore how the Performance Dialogue process works. Learning the process of enabling employees to receive valuable feedback on their overall performance as well as actively help them manage their professional development and career pursuits. By developing an in-depth understanding of this process, you will be able to maximize its value not only for your own professional pursuits but for those of your unit as well.                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Workshop 4: Managing Conflict: Toward a Healthy and Productive Workplace for All

People shaking hands in agreement

Conflicts and differences in the workplace can be a great source of creative tension, learning and growth for individuals, teams and the institution at large. In these times of rapid change and uncertainty, we are called to tap into this wealth of potential – particularly if we are to attract, engage and retain healthy, diverse, and happy employees. This means creating a workplace culture that actively values differences and psychological safety for all. It also means understanding and skillfully managing conflicts when they emerge.

Stress, withdrawal, and conflict are commonplace in our post-pandemic reality. Fatigue has sometimes overshadowed empathy and mutual respect. Most common types of conflicts are based on tasks, relationships, and differences in values, all of which have been impacted by the Pandemic and this new and still unknown hybrid work world. Whatever their source, unattended conflicts tend to escalate, creating a divisive and toxic work environment. Research shows that such escalations can negatively impact productivity, engagement and overall wellness of individuals and teams.

It takes courage to move into healthy conflict and to strive to transform conflict into greater mutual understanding and growth. In this interactive workshop, supervisors will explore their own relationship with conflict (assumptions, needs, styles, hot buttons). Through various interactive exercises, participants will build the skills needed to effectively manage various types of conflicts with sensitivity to diversity, mental health, and organizational context. They’ll learn how to engage in difficult conversations with awareness and confidence, and gain insight into the resources available at McGill to help them deal with difficult situations.

Workshop 5: Planning Strategies and Actions - Measuring Success

Someone playing chessAn important aspect of a supervisor’s role is to prioritize work according to objectives, to organize and distribute tasks effectively, and to ensure tasks are completed within a defined timeframe and according to certain standards. Structure and follow-up, when properly adapted to the needs at hand, are critical components of employee engagement and effectiveness. This workshop will introduce you to simple and effective management tools that you can implement in your operations to maintain and increase overall team performance.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

The Learning Circles

Colored pencil placed in a circular fashionTo fully harness the power of experiential learning we need to create opportunities for supervisors to make work a continuous learning experience. Between structured training sessions, groups will engage in Learning Circles to discuss and integrate their shared learning. Your facilitator will help guide the process, serve as a resource person, and connect the group to outside resources. 

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