Iowa Center for Evaluation & Research
DMC Resource Center

supervision and management

The NRC offers supervision and workforce development training for a variety of human services organizations.   We have developed multi-module curricula of eight to ten days in length for supervisors in public child welfare and for supervisors of family support programs.  In addition, we offer one- and two-day trainings which can be tailored to organizational needs.

Multi-Module Curricula

Supervision of Practice

  • Strength-Based Supervision of Child Welfare Practice
  • Reflective Case Consultation/Clinical Supervision

Developing Human Resources

  • Interviewing for Success
  • Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Staff
  • Design a Developmental, Competency-Based Supervision Program
  • Supervising Underperforming/Impaired Workers
  • Managing a Diverse Workforce
  • Understanding Learning Styles
  • Supervising Intergenerational Diversity
  • Professional Writing:  Skills for Supervisors

Leadership Skills

  • Leading Positive Change
  • Running Good Meetings
  • Giving Effective Feedback
  • Empower Your Team
  • Managing Team Conflict
  • Leadership Skills for Child Welfare Supervisors
  • Family-Centered Change Management
  • Developing Successful Programs

Stress, Safety and Resilience

  • Promoting Safety and Resilience in the Workplace
  • Secondary Trauma in Child Welfare: Managing the Effects of Daily Exposure to Trauma

Ethics for Managers

  • Ethical Supervision
  • Ethical Program Development

Supervision of Practice
Strength-Based Supervision of Child Welfare Practice

Supervision focused on case practice is directly related to increased competence and to job satisfaction among child welfare workers.   This training gives supervisors the training and hands-on tools they need to develop their workers' practice skills and improve outcomes for families.  Supervisors will be provided with a variety of hands-on tools to enhance their strength-based supervisory practice. The training is based on a field-tested curriculum developed by the National Resource Center for the Iowa Department of Human Services with funding from the U.S. Children’s Bureau. For details, click here.

Reflective Case Consultation/Clinical Supervision

This one-day hands-on training is for supervisors who wish to enhance their skills as reflective supervisors. Cases will involve common decision-making points, such as mandatory reporting, and case closure, as well as clinical issues, including substance abuse, adult and child mental illness, and domestic violence.  Videotaped examples of reflective supervisory sessions are used,

We offer versions of this training for child welfare, family support, and income maintenance supervisors, and can tailor the training to other organizations.
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Developing Human Resources
Interviewing for Success

Participants will learn the elements of effective interviews, compare four different interview styles, learn about behavioral based interviewing techniques and write behavioral based questions, and become familiar with a variety of pre-screening tools used to more accurately assess and forecast applicant’s suitability to employment, including Realistic Job Previews.  The training also aims at decreasing the role of bias in interviewing through exploration of subtle patterns in assessing applicants’ qualifications and suitability. 

Recruiting & Retaining a Diverse Staff

This workshop explores the role of staffing in developing organizational cultural competency. We discuss issues of organizational preparedness, recruitment, retention and the development of an organizational culture in which people of all backgrounds can thrive, contribute, and develop necessary competencies for a diverse workforce. We examine participants' organizations and work together to define actions to create an organization with a culturally diverse and competent staff. Participants should bring information about: the demographic make-up of paid and unpaid staff (including volunteers, board of directors), demographics of clients (i.e., service users, patients, customers), and a demographic profile of the community, as well as any general brochures and/or staff-related materials that are currently used in the agency.

Design a Developmental, Competency-Based Supervision Program

Learn how to use a set of competency based tools to write your own competencies and conduct formative, developmental evaluations of your workers.  Design your own supervision manual and learn how to partner with workers to maximize their potential.  Tools include the NRC’s Developmental Planning and Support Tool, Supervision Manual template, a set of developmental competency templates and examples from child welfare and family support, individual and unit development plans, and a tool for developing effective in-service programs.


Managing Underperforming/Impaired Workers

This workshop will explore supervisory challenges when supervising underperforming and impaired workers. First, we will explore working with staff members who are underperforming specific tasks of their job. Participants will be introduced to a assessment process for identifying the primary contributing factors resulting in unacceptable performance, apply it to a current workplace concern, and identify possible interventions for improving performance . The same process will be applied to supervising underperformance due to impairment and how to identify changes in employee behavior indicative of personal concerns interfering with work performance. Documentation will be addressed.

Managing a Diverse Workforce

This training increases managers' competence in managing diverse workforce dynamics. 

Topics include the impact of majority/minority dynamics. how to use perspective-taking to manage those dynamics, and skills for effective communication across social and cultural difference.  We explore how managers can work with majority identity workers to build their commitment to diversity, and how to integrate that commitment throughout the unit and organization. 

Understanding Learning Styles

The training provides an overview of learning styles (perceptual and processing) , their importance in supervision, and suggestions for integrating learning styles and adult learning principles into individual supervision and in-service presentations.  Participants will identify their own learning preferences and take home a simple-to-use tool for staff use.


Supervision of Intergenerational Diversity

This popular workshop explores the strengths of generational diversity in the workforce and the accompanying supervisory challenges.  Supervisors participate in exercises in perspective taking to better understand how to attract and retain a generationally diverse workforce and how to effectively manage intergenerational conflict.

Professional Writing:   Skills for Supervisors

This workshop teaches strategies for effective communication through the common types of written documentation in family centered practice including case notes, court reports, and referral letters.  Participants will be able to Identify ethical considerations involved with professional writing, understand the supervision process of professional writing, and  identify the structure and methods of feedback involved with assisting supervisees and co-workers with their professional writing, including use of various software.
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Leadership Skills
Leading Positive Change

Supervisors will learn techniques for empowering workers through change, guiding workers through transitions, understand different “learning styles” of change, articulate the elements of a change communication plan, use an action plan for change, and incorporate “small wins” into a change strategy

Giving Effective Feedback

Learn effective strategies for giving feedback to employees; practice giving and receiving feedback.

Running Good Meetings

Taught as part of child welfare leadership skills, this workshop teaches skills for running effective meetings based on John Tropman’s work, including agenda formation, meeting decision rules. Participants also learn techniques for avoiding “Group Think”.

Empower Your Team

The "platinum rule" in human services organizations is "treat others as you would have them treat others". Organizations with a strength-based, family-centered, empowering approach to clients must model a parallel process in their relationships with staff.  This workshop uses case examples to increase supervisors' skills in identifying team strengths and empowering teams to reach levels of excellence.

Manage Team Conflict

Conflict can lead to better ideas and more team productivity, but too much conflict saps the energy out of the team and its leaders.  This short training focuses on when and how to mediate, arbitrate, or negotiate workplace conflict.  Trainees participate in a computer simulation.


Leadership Skills for Child Welfare Supervisors: This one or two day workshop focuses on essential skills for leadership in child welfare. Topics may include: leading positive change, running effective meetings, managing underperforming/impaired employees, team facilitation, managing diversity and/or managing conflictual teams.

Family-Centered Change Management
The purpose of this training is to help senior practitioners and managers manage change in their own workplaces, in their professional practice, and in that of their colleagues. The workshop draws on participants' current experience of managing change. Participants work through the different levels of thinking and negotiation involved in effective change management, and learns to: 1) map the people and organizations involved in the change to identify key players and relationships; 2) analyze the nature of the innovation to plan appropriate actions;  3) involve the right people at the right time; 4) develop a change communication plan; and 5) support supervisors as they institute ground-level change and help workers cope with transitions.

Developing Successful Programs
This training will focus on the development and implementation of new programs that reflect a strength-based family centered philosophy. The presenters will draw from current research, and their personal/professional experiences to give a model for successful program development.
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Stress, Safety and Resilience

Promoting Safety and Resilience in the Workforce

Multiple studies have correlated stress with worker turnover. This training presents a variety for supervisory techniques for managing workplace stress, with a focus on promoting resilience and building a strong, safe workplace. Topics include building your staff’s resilience, addressing secondary trauma in the workforce, what you need to know about critical incident debriefing and critical incidence stress management, and agency safety checklists.

Secondary Trauma in Child Welfare:   Managing the Effects of Daily Exposure to Trauma

The child welfare profession is unique in terms of rewards and demands.  Ironically, one of the most cherished qualities necessary for effectiveness -- empathy -- is also one that can make the worker vulnerable.  This workshop explains the causes and symptoms of secondary traumatic stress and vicarious traumatization and offers guidance to supervisors for assisting their workers in dealing with the daily exposure to trauma.  A self-assessment checklist is provided. 
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Ethics for Managers
Ethical Supervision
This course focuses on the role of the supervisor in assuring ethical practice.  Attention is given to the relationship between evidence-based practice and ethical practice.  Ethical issues in co-worker  and supervisory relationships are highlighted.  The training emphasizes reflective supervision and inter-organizational consultation as a way of assuring ethical practice.   Examples can be used from child welfare, family support, mental health or other human services settings.

Ethical Program Development
This training focuses on the development and implementation of new programs that reflect a strength-based family centered philosophy.   "Parallel process" is emphasized, in which organizational and administrative relationships model the same strength-based approaches programs expect staff to use with families.   Topics covered include staffing, human resources, funding, managed care, and program planning. The presenter draws from current research and professional experiences in sharing a model for successful program development.
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