Supervisor Development Program


Purpose:  The Supervisor Development Project (SDP) is a consequence of the First Line Supervisor Assessment Center project.  Agencies using the FLS AC saw the need to better prepare their line employees for leadership positions within their agency.  The purpose of the SDP is to act as a first step in developing the next generation of Wyoming’s law enforcement leadership.  The SDP will provide a diagnostic tool to identify leadership and supervision strengths and weaknesses of an individual, provide feedback to the individual, and a report and recommended development activities for the individual and the agency head.

Scope:  The SDP is not a means of preparing candidates to perform well on the FLS AC.  Although it is a consequence of the FLS AC and therefore related, it must be viewed independent of the Assessment Center project.  The purpose of the SDP is not to prepare someone to ‘take the test’ of the FLS AC, the purpose, as stated above, is to begin the process of developing aspiring leaders.  Leadership development is a change process that involves knowledge of self, knowledge of effective leadership and supervision, honest self-evaluation and a commitment to growth.  The SDP provides one component, knowledge of self, through a set of diagnostic tools designed to identify strengths and opportunities for growth related to effective supervision.

The SDP is a diagnostic tool only.  It is not intended as an assessment tool for promotion, nor is it suitable for any kind of fitness for duty evaluation or basis for demotion or discipline.  It is intended to provide feedback to the person regarding strengths and weaknesses creating self-awareness; and recommendations for activities that provide opportunity for potential improvement intended to capitalize on strengths and build competency in areas of weakness.

Diagnostic Instruments:  The diagnostic consists of one job simulation instrument, an in-basket, 4 situational judgment tests, and a Leadership Essay.  These instruments assess qualities that are related to effective supervision.  By design, these are not identical to the dimensions assessed in the FLS AC, they are related to the role and function of a supervisor, thus growth and competency in these qualities are directly related to effective supervision.  Qualities that produce effective supervision can also produce positive performance on the FLS AC, since its purpose is to measure supervisory aptitude. 

Procedures:  The instruments are designed to be remotely administered through WLEAs on-line learning platform.  A WASCOP representative trained in the administration and scoring of the instrument will set an appointment with the person to be assessed.  There will be instructions given via telephone or video-conferencing, a user-name and password issued for the on-line learning system, after the candidate takes the instrument the administrator will score it and give feedback, preferably the next day, via video-conferencing on each instrument and create a final report.  The final report will be given to the administrator. 

Expectations:  The SDP is for those who aspire to leadership, should challenge them in their development, and encourage excellence.  It is for those who are already a high/competent performer in their current job tasks and assignments and demonstrated commitment to the organization/profession.  Our expectation of candidates is that they take personal responsibility for their own growth and development and be open to feedback, including that which identifies areas for growth.    Agencies should seek to identify candidates early in their career, focusing their efforts on those who have the ability to move two levels higher in the organization.  Agencies should also seek to encourage a culture where individuals take responsibility for their development by supporting their development efforts and be prepared to consider providing the following for the candidate; guided experience to build skills, budgetary expenditures for recommended training, and self-guided study resources.  Agencies need to understand that development is a process, this will NOT be a transforming experience for the employee; however for the person who wants to grow, is open to feedback and committed to making the necessary changes it will provide them with identified areas of performance to concentrate on and suggestions to make improvement.  The person assessed and the agency should expect 6 months to one year before they see new performance behavior habits. 

Outcomes:  A diagnostic report to give feedback to the candidate and a standardized final report with the identified strengths, opportunities for growth, and recommended development activities will be provided to the candidate.  The agency will receive only the final report.  Recommendations for development activities will involve a three-prong approach of guided experience, self-directed learning, and formal education/training.  Heavy emphasis will be placed on guided experience as research shows that 70% of effective leadership development occurs through guided experience.  The George Mason University Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program created developmental resources consisting of self-directed learning, formal training and education (including but not limited to WLEA’s Leadership Development course offerings), and potential guided experiences that is available through the WASCOP website. 

Conclusion:  The SDP should be thought of as an employee development tool, not an assessment center.  It should be understood as the first stage of a process of growth and development for the person in which strengths and weaknesses related to effective supervision are identified and suggested development activities are provided.  One should not expect to see immediate change as the person needs to go through the change process of understanding new concepts and information, accepting it, internalizing it and committing to change, and then be given time to implement the change.  It should also be considered by all involved as an on-going process that would be continued by the agency through coaching and mentoring, directed by goal setting.