How Learning and Experience Work Together for Effective Staff Supervisors

How Learning and Experience Work Together for Effective Staff Supervisors

As a staff supervisor or team leader, your success is measured against the results of your team.  Which sounds OK.  But it’s driven by a combination of hands-on experience and more formal learning. Which means it’s a necessary (and solid) combination of the wisdom you gain from dealing with real-world challenges and the understanding you get from structured training. 

In this article we explain how connecting both experience and learning is the key to becoming a truly exceptional staff supervisor.

What Do You Learn From Experience?

If you’re a positive thinker, you’ll view a supervisory role as one that gives new opportunities for growth and success, every day. You’ll get first-hand experience that will give you valuable insights into the challenges thrown up by leadership, communication, and problem-solving. Over time, you’ll learn the art of adaptability as you deal with dynamics that constantly change within your team. It’s all valuable stuff!

And if you treat mistakes (by yourself and others) as lessons, and challenges (from anywhere!) as opportunities for personal and professional development, you’ll do well. So you could be managing conflicts within your team or making tough decisions under severe pressure.  Whatever the case, experience will give you a solid understanding of the kind of supervisor skills you need.

What Can You Learn From a Course?

You can see that experience lays the foundation.  But it’s a slow (though rewarding) process that’s plagued by distractions and sidesteps. But there’s a solution at hand!  Training acts as a kind of scaffolding that lifts you to new levels. This means that by attending targeted courses and workshops, you can learn about the learnable skills that reinforce effective supervision. 

Whether it’s conflict resolution techniques to strategic planning methods, training gives you a broad toolkit to tackle your challenges with confidence. And of course, it exposes you to best practices, industry trends, and new methods that you may be unaware of. In short, courses offer a structured route to getting the knowledge and skills that complement the experience you gain.

How Do Experience and Training Work Together?

The interaction between experience and training is where the real value emerges. Training provides a framework for critical thinking and decision-making: a more broad perspective on the role. It equips you with the kind of knowledge and values that serve as guides for the future. 

But this isn’t enough.  Which is why you need experience to fill in the gaps between theory and practice. It’s where you refine your instincts, sharpening your ability to deal with complex issues. In this way, experience and training come together to create a powerful synergy that speeds up your development as a supervisor, giving you an invaluable combination of wisdom and expertise.


Experience and learning are separate subjects that work together as indispensable pillars of achieveing success. So while experience is irreplaceable, it’s also time-consuming and littered with pitfalls. Training, on the other hand, offers a shortcut to knowledge and understanding, providing the tools you need to operate with confidence in a supervisory role. From this, it should be obvious that you should combine both experience and learning to unlock your full potential as a supervisor, and get the success you’re due.

So welcome the opportunity you have to build yourself into the best supervisor you can be!

Back To Top