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K-State Supervisory Foundations

K-State Supervisory Foundations is a comprehensive supervisory program for all K-State supervisors offered three times each year.  Programming includes a partnership with Human Resources, a variety of academic units, and key leaders at K-State.

Individuals who are eligible to enroll in this course include active supervisors of university support staff (USS) and unclassified professional staff.  A University Support Staff (USS) employee in a supervisory position must successfully complete supervisory training within six months of the date of appointment or promotion per PPM Chapter 4880.  


Pillar I: Establishing Your Supervisory Foundation sessions are offered during the months of March/April, June, and October.  For scheduling and enrollment information, please view the links below. 

Pillar I October 2024 Schedule - Coming Soon

K-State Supervisory Foundations offers the opportunity for participants to take as many sessions or as few sessions as schedules permit.  While some may wish to complete all sessions in the same month, other participants may choose to select portions of the program to meet their needs.  Both options are available and acknowledgement of program completion will be made once all training requirements are fulfilled.

Pillar I October 2024 Registration - Coming in August

Pillar I: Establishing Your Supervisory Foundation

Pillar I programming provides essential supervisor information and best practices to promote effective supervision in a higher education environment.  Training content includes a combination of online and classroom learning integrating a mixture of discussions, case studies, and lectures from K-State subject matter experts.  The program includes the sessions below.

Pillar I Resource Guide
This session is suitable for all academic, professional and support staff with management and/or leadership roles across the University. Participants will understand the importance of a leader who encourages and guides employees, advances teamwork, inspires trust, and optimizes results.
  • Define the role of the supervisor.
  • Understand the higher education construct in the state of Kansas and the hierarchy of Kansas State University.
  • Differentiate employee types (USS, Unclassified, Faculty).
  • Understand the importance of effective onboarding practices.
  • Build rapport and trust within a team.
Understanding Your Role as a K-State Supervisor  
Session DescriptionObjectives

Additional Materials: Book - The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry by Hammond; Book - Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Scott; Book - Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't by Collins

Effectively Utilizing K-State Policies and University Handbook
Session DescriptionObjectives
This session provides an interactive opportunity for supervisors to apply K-State employment policies and the University handbook.
  • Demonstrate understanding of K-State employment policies and University Handbook.
  • Locate K-State employment policies when needed.
  • Utilize K-State employment policies equitably across all employee types in various situations.
  • Establish “Swim Lanes” – what situations can supervisors handle, what needs to be passed on to Human Resources

Prerequisite Online Training Modules: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for Supervisors, "Benefit" Your Team, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Basics: What You Need to Know, Foundations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Recognizing Discrimination and Sexual Harassment for Supervisors

Additional Materials: Disability Etiquette in the Workplace

 Mindful Communication for Supervisors 
Session DescriptionObjectives
This session will provide participants insight into their own communication styles and anxieties. Participation will help supervisors understand how verbal and nonverbal communication can help to create more mindful, effective messages to employees.
  • Recognize the importance of effective communication including nonverbal communication.
  • Identify your current communication style and its impact on others.
  • Apply techniques and strategies to become more skilled in interpersonal communication.

Additional Materials: Dr. Lisa Barrett's Ted Talk - You aren't at the mercy of your emotions, your brain created them

Understanding Legal & Ethical Responsibilities of Supervisors
Session DescriptionObjectives
This session is designed to introduce participants to legal concepts by providing an overview of key laws and policies impacting the workplace. Participants will learn how to spot legal issues and how to best utilize resources to assist with potential legal and ethical concerns.
  • Identify the legal aspects associated with managing employees.
  • Identify the ethical situations that may present themselves to supervisors.

Additional Materials: Coming Soon

Fostering Community & Culture of Belonging in the Workplace
Session DescriptionObjectives

An interactive and informative session where participants will engage in a community healing hub and explore practices to develop a culture of belonging.

  • Experience appreciation, affirmation, belongingness, and consciousness change that deepen human connections with others.
  • Increase capacity for perspective-taking, perspective-giving, self-compassion, and empathy.
  • Form new perceptions and mental frames about people with different identities and backgrounds.
  • Explore team members' roles and responsibilities for creating a culture of community and belonging.

 Additional Materials: Coming Soon

Building Your Conflict Management Toolkit
Session DescriptionObjectives
Enhance your confidence in managing conflict within your department/unit by building your toolkit geared towards your supervisory role in responding to challenging situations that naturally occur within the workplace.
  • Address employee workplace concerns to build a healthy work environment.
  • Combine ideas and techniques to cultivate civility in the workplace.
  • Access tips and tools to work through difficult conversations.
  • Acquire the conflict resolution resources to directly assist with workplace disputes

 Additional Materials:  Dr. Brene Brown Video - The Anatomy of Trust; Book - Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler, and Roppe; Book - Crucial Accountability: Tools for Resolving Violated Expectations, Broken Commitment, and Bad Behavior by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler, and Maxfield; Book - The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People by Chapman and White; Book - 5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life: Identifying and Dealing with Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other High-Conflict Personalities by Eddy; Book - Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Stone, Patton and Heen; Book - Toxic Coworks: How to Deal with Dysfunctional People on the Job by Cavaiola, Lavender

Collaborative Communication for Supervisors
Session DescriptionObjectives
This session focuses on communication and decision-making, highlighting ways that communication can facilitate or hinder collaborative decision-making practices in the workplace.
  • Identify and practice effective listening, dialogue, and decision-making techniques.
  • Identify and analyze common communication barriers in order to navigate conflicts in the workplace.
  • Apply techniques and strategies to become more skilled in interpersonal communication.

 Additional Materials: Coming Soon

Performance Management: Supervisory Best Practices
Session DescriptionObjectives

This highly interactive session will highlight the strategic best practices necessary for efficiently completing performance reviews and disciplinary action. It will also emphasize the supervisor's role in coaching employees for success and providing support.

  • Identify best practices and delivering effective planning sessions.
  • Create effective SMART objectives and competencies.
  • Analyze common biases.
  • Review tips for handling employee disciplinary actions.
  • Explain USS special review and Unclassified performance improvement plan.
  • Indicate documentation best practices.

Prerequisite Online Training Modules: Attendance Guidelines for University Support Staff (USS), Best Practices of Evaluating Unclassified Professionals, Corrective Action for University Support Staff (USS), Evaluating University Support Staff (USS) Work Performance

Additional Materials: Coming Soon

The Strategic Leader
Session DescriptionObjectives
In this session, participants will gain a deeper understanding of their own leadership styles and have an introduction to the leadership styles of others through completing the CliftonStrengths Assessment. Participants will then explore strategies to increase engagement and motivate their colleagues. Through case-studies, participants will explore how to speak to loss and manage change at the unit and organizational level. 
  • Recognize the various leadership styles.
  • Discuss strategies to develop and motivate others.
  • Identify techniques to build an effective team and access appropriate resources.
  • Describe strategies for leading through change and turbulent times.

Additional Materials: Website - Working at depth in organisational and leadership development (Organisational Change and Management); Website - Kansas Leadership Center - Your Leadership Edge (Adaptive Leadership)

Upcoming Sessions