Training APEX Awards Best Practice: Harris Health System’s Supervisor/Manager Skill Building

The curriculum combines action-learning activities, simulations, group discussions, team exercises, lectures, case studies, and projects to help prepare leaders for the challenges of healthcare transformation.

APEX Awards

Harris Health System designed its Supervisor/Manager Skill Building program to foster an effective learning environment for its Pharmacy and Lab supervisors and managers and help them practice specific skills needed to be successful leaders. This program provides real-world scenarios with hands-on learning activities so leaders have the necessary skills and confidence to address employee issues in a timely manner, resulting in higher-level retention within their respective departments.

Program Details

The program is delivered over a 12-month period through the use of an integrated curriculum that blends industry knowledge with the development of leadership skills. The curriculum combines action-learning activities, simulations, group discussions, team exercises, lectures, case studies, and projects to help prepare leaders for the challenges of healthcare transformation.

This program is taught face-to-face monthly. It was designed to bring together leaders across the organization who are geographically located throughout Harris County. The case studies and simulations are designed to address the good, the bad, and the ugly of leadership to strengthen leaders at the supervisor and manager levels.

Course topics include:

  • Lab Leadership in the 21st Century: This course sets expectations for the department supervisors’ and managers’ behaviors and deliverables.
  • Leading People—What Do Employees Want? Based on current research trends and data, this class fosters collaboration on best practices between supervisors and managers.
  • Turn on Talent, Turn off Turnover: This class reveals the secrets to engaging and retaining talented employees.
  • Unleash Productivity: This class helps supervisors and managers create a plan to improve job quality and link the mission and vision of the department to the talents and aspiration for each employee.
  • Leader Effectiveness: This class distinguishes between constructive feedback and unconstructive feedback. Supervisors and managers practice providing feedback.
  • Ask and Listen—Coaching Conversations: This class compares and contrasts performance coaching and developmental coaching. Supervisors and managers practice through scenario-based opportunities.
  • Embrace Diversity—Generations at Work: This class compares and contrasts the differences in the five generations in the workforce. Supervisors and managers discuss what is important to them and how they manage each person from each generation differently.
  • Self-Care: This class introduces a self-assessment tool to determine stress level and share strategies to alleviate burnout.
  • Accentuate the Positive: This class stresses the importance of a positive attitude and positive self-talk. Supervisors and managers participate in activities to share how they could react in future situations.
  • Rise to the Challenge of Change: This class discusses the barriers to change, addressing the fear factor and utilizing a six-step model for dealing with change.
  • Adaptability: This class addresses the benefits of being adaptable and strategies to adjust to meet the needs of the department and the organization.
  • Employee Motivation and Maximizing Performance: This class shares the latest research on employee motivation. Supervisors and managers create a tool to help identify with each person on their team.

At the conclusion of the program, learners are invited to participate in the emerging leaders year-long program with all-new topics to build upon the foundation.


The training aims to equip supervisors and managers with the skills needed to be successful and retain these leaders such that their employees flourish. Harris Health System achieved a 92.9 percent retention rate, surpassing its goal for this training by nearly 3 percent.

Edited by Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.