Thursday, July 5, 2007

Management and Supervision Workshop

I attended this amazing workshop last week about Management and Supervision put on by the San Francisco Bay Area Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. It was great to hear from my peers about how they manage and supervise their staff. This workshop provided me an opportunity to think about how I want to be a better manager. My favorite speaker at the workshop was Vini Bhansali, Program Director at Juma Ventures. She was so inspiring!!

She encouraged us to create an equitable culture, a culture where passionate people thrive. To hire talented individuals and create systems for individual growth and accountability; provide outlets for communications where staff can bring to the surface underlying conflicts and values and a culture where reflection is accepted. She is very successful at creating a team/collaborative working environment at Juma Ventures.

A couple of other great points I heard during the workshop.

  • Not everyone is cut out to be a supervisor. One must make an effort to be a good supervisor and truly enjoy supervising your staff.
  • Supervision takes self-awareness, knowing what you are good at.
  • Communicate with staff and pay attention to subtle changes in behavior.
  • Work to bridge the gaps between different nonprofit departments, finance working with HR, HR working with Development, Development working with Program etc.
  • Supervision is not about power over, it is about power with.
  • The leader's role is the facilitator.
  • Supervision is not about task mastery, it is about working with people!

As busy nonprofit managers, it is really easy for us to focus on the task at hand and on accomplishing the mission of our organizations. However, good leaders in successful organizations spend as much time, if not more on working with and encouraging their staff then they do on accomplishing their work. I learned from this workshop I need to spend more time listening to my staff and find out more about their personal and professional needs.

We are trying to provide equitable opportunities for our clients and constituents, however are we truly making an effort to provide an equitable environment to our staff? I know it sure isn't easy, but it is worth it!!

1 comment:

Rosetta Thurman said...

Wow this sounds like a great workshop. There seems to be so much support for nonprofits there, it makes me wish I lived in the Bay Area :) I always find that fundamental irony in the supervision/leadership issues you bring up here in that nonprofits are supposed to be about making a caring community, yet we often don't care for our staff, overworking and underpaying them, then expecting them to come back to work day after day! Maybe if every nonprofit manager was trained through a workshop like this, we would have vastly better leaders. Thanks for sharing your insights for those who couldn't be there :)