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]

Essential Skills for New McGill Supervisors Program - Fall 2022 cohort Calendar



Launch Session:

  • Overview of Program
  • Why EDI Matters to Managers
  • Managing a Healthy Workplace


October 13, 2022


9:00 - 12:00

1. Managing, Leading and Delegating October 18, 2022

10:00 - 12:00

Learning Circle 1 October 25, 2022 10:00 - 11:30
2. Coaching Conversations and Performance Dialogue November 1, 2022

10:00 - 12:00

Learning Circle 2 November 3, 2022 10:00 - 11:30
3. Managing in a Unionized Environment November 8, 2022 10:00 - 12:00
Learning Circle 3 November 15, 2022

2:00 - 3:30

4. Planning Strategies and Actions - Measuring Success November 22, 2022 10:00 - 12:00
Learning Circle 4 November 29, 2022 10:00 - 11:30
Wrap-up Session December 6, 2022 10:00 - 11:30

Description of the Workshops & the Learning Circles


Hot Air Balloons taking offThis 3-hour online launch of the new cohort of the Essential Skills for New Supervisors Program will start with an overview of the program, including outlining important dates, descriptions of the sessions, as well as general expectations of participants in the program. We will then be joined by a member of McGill’s Equity Team who will share an important 90-minute foundational workshop entitled: Inclusive Leadership: Why Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) matters to Managers. At the end of the launch, we will wrap up with a session called Managing a Healthy Workplace, where you will receive information about our offerings and resources to help you as a supervisor encourage a healthy workplace at McGill.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

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: Coaching Conversations and Performance Dialogue

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. We will also explore how the Performance Dialogue process can enable employees to receive valuable feedback on their overall performance as well as actively help them manage their professional development and career pursuits.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Workshop 3: Managing in a Unionized Environment

A handshakeIn 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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Workshop 4: Planning Strategies and Actions

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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