STEP - Supervisory Training for Excellence in Performance

Supervisory Training for Excellence in Performance (STEP) is a comprehensive supervisory course for those who supervise staff. It is designed to build the capacity of new and experienced managers and supervisors to lead with vision, confidence, equity and inclusion. Through this course, participants will enhance their knowledge of, and skills in applying, policies and practices toward building high performing, supportive teams.

The course consists of these 16 sessions delivered over eight course days. The group meets one day each week for both a morning and afternoon session. 

ADA Compliance & Workplace Accommodations - provides information about the American Disabilities Act, the process of obtaining workplace accommodations, and support and resources available to supervisors by the KU ADA Resources Center for Equity and Accessibility.

Communication Essentials - builds upon the MBTI & Leadership session. It provides communication tools to help supervisors prepare for the many types of conversations they might have with staff. Tools for giving and receiving feedback and practice opportunities are part of the session.

Compliance - provides information about laws and policies important for supervisors to be aware of, such as: Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), shared leave, parental leave, worker’s compensation, and navigating the process when a staff member’s employment ends.

Counseling & Disciplinary Action - defines and discusses counseling and discipline as a problem-solving process, covers the difference between conduct and performance, and identifies the grounds, steps and guidelines for progressive counseling and discipline.


  • STEP 3.0 is offered each quarter. Each offering is either conducted in person or online via Zoom.

Please visit MyTalent to enroll

A group in a meeting

Ethics in the Workplace—provides an opportunity for participants to create a definition of ethics, to discuss the tenants of ethical leadership, and to review red flags to watch out for. Participants also work through multiple case studies to discuss and discern the ethical issue, who is affected by the issue, and decide upon an ethical course of action.

Employee Engagement—provides steps supervisors can take to foster engagement with their staff. Discussion includes feeling connecting to KU, current level of trust between supervisors and their staff, and the difference between job satisfaction, overall well-being, and true engagement.

Hiring Process—covers the multi-faceted hiring process of KU staff. It provides an overview of equal opportunity principles, university hiring guidelines, and best interviewing practices.

Managing Employee Performance—explains the many ways that supervisors can facilitate successful staff performance through an ongoing cycle of performance management. Strategies include goal-setting, clarifying and setting new expectations to employees over time, giving on-going feedback and guidance throughout the year, and sharing professional development opportunities. An overview of the functionality of the online performance management system is also provided.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Leadership—uses the MBTI tool to help individuals understand their own communication preferences and how they interact with others. STEP participants complete the assessment online. Through the class activities, they develop a greater understanding of their MBTI type and can discern more about themselves and the ways their MBTI style might inform and influence how they communicate with their staff and others.

Office of Civil Rights and Title IX as a Resource—provides an overview of the Office and what it provides to support supervisors in their efforts to build and maintain a workplace climate of respect and understanding. Included are the different types of discrimination as listed in KU and federal policy and how to support someone who discloses discrimination, sexual misconduct, and harassment. Also covered is an explanation of how the Office handles disclosures and reports of these issues.

Organizational Change—focuses on how supervisors manage the people side of change: preparing the team for it and addressing staff who are excited and those who are resistant. Also covered is how supervisors can manage the stress organizational change adds to their lives. Models and best practices are discussed for leading oneself and one’s team through change.

Self-management—focuses on what work-life integration looks like for supervisors. Included is assessing your productivity style and identifying ways to work with your natural tendencies to be intentional about organizing time as well as how to support team members with different styles. Also covered are approaches to problem-solving and decision-making, especially as they relate to setting priorities. 

Staff Mental Health in the Workplace—This session demonstrates the value of supporting our employees’ mental wellness. Supervisors will examine strategies that help foster engagement and connectedness with their teams, learn how to assess for signs or symptoms that could indicate a challenge, and leave with a basic crisis navigation framework and awareness of KU and community mental health resources.

Supervision through an Inclusive Lens—During this session, participants will be able to differentiate practices and barriers to becoming an inclusive supervisor. Through scenario-based examples, we will explore opportunities to incorporate these practices within different work environments.

Trust & Relationship Building—Utilizing case studies, activities and discussion, this session covers the importance of trust and relationship building between the supervisor and the people they supervise. The session covers listening, sharing of yourself, and common challenges, and gives the class the opportunity to brainstorm solutions to building and maintaining trust and working relationships with those you supervise.

As of October 1, 2022, everyone appointed, promoted, or hired into a role that includes supervising staff is required to complete STEP within their first year. All those who were in supervisory roles prior to that date are encouraged to complete it at least once every five years to ensure they stay current with policies and procedures.