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U.S. Steel managers benefit from leadership program|
By Cole Hons
|| Penn State McKeesport is a training partner with U.S. Steel Mon Valley Works. In one facet of this partnership, 60 U.S. Steel supervisors from the Mon Valley Works participated in a leadership development program designed by Penn State Management Development Programs and Services and administered by the Penn State McKeesport Continuing Education office. This program was an important transitional tool for the company during a period of intense change.|
In spring 2000, a dramatic reorganization at U.S. Steel produced a group of new managers and a need to implement new procedures throughout the company. Having worked previously with Penn State McKeesport Continuing Education on the Continuous Improvement to Environment program, the Mon Valley Works called upon Continuing Educations expertise once again to meet these new challenges.
The resulting effort, called the U.S. Steel Supervisory Leadership Program, was presented as a three-day pilot program, followed by four monthly sessions of one day per week. This allowed participants to try new techniques in the workplace and bring feedback to subsequent sessions. This feedback was used dynamically through the appointment of U.S. Steel managers to a program steering committee that brought attention to participants specific areas of concern as the program progressed.
Dr. Richard Zelonka, assistant professor with Management Development, was the lead faculty member for the program, and Susan Lewis, director of Continuing Education at Penn State McKeesport, handled administration for the program. Both pointed out that this approach creates a lot of synergy and cross reinforcement in the program.
The sessions included role-playing and modeling techniques and the introduction of the 360 instrument, a method where managers receive feedback about their performance from the people they supervise. Employees provide feedback anonymously to promote honesty and prevent interpersonal conflict, which proved to be a powerful tool. Managers were able to recognize areas to improve upon that they may not otherwise have been aware of, and they learned a lot about the real concerns of the employees under their supervision.
One participant, Judith Anne Senzik, staff supervisor in the Customer Service and Outside Processing Business Planning Department at the Mon Valley Works, said, Modern management is developmental management. The environment of the workplace has changed, and the methods we use to manage needs to change. The Supervisory Leadership Program addresses this in a clear, concise manner.
Asked how effective the program was for her personally, Senzik added, By taking the time to develop and work with my employees more, I am able to delegate more of my responsibilities to my employees. I work in a customer service area. It is always hectic, with a lot of different issues being addressed at any one time. Anything I can do to free up my time to do more planning in my area is very important to the success of my organization. I highly recommend this course to all managers at the Mon Valley Works, as well as other businesses.