The Propel Team was honored with the Alan J. Dean Talent Management Warfare Center Award at the NSWC Dahlgren Division Leadership Forum in November.
Propel - a five-day course for new first-line supervisors at all NSWC and NUWC divisions - provides a basic awareness of warfare center expectations for supervisors, and the interactive class aids new supervisors in interpreting workplace environments to find and use organizational resources for appropriate, timely supervisory actions.
"It was an honor to receive this award on behalf of our Propel Team,” said Kim Thornton – supervisor training manager for NSWCDD Leadership Development Programs who coordinated the course at Dahlgren.
Thornton and her team were honored for their outstanding contributions to the Warfare Center Divisions through the development and implementation of the Propel training class as a launching platform for new supervisors.
Propel includes practical tools new supervisors can immediately apply to manage the leadership and personnel challenges they will face, while jump-starting their knowledge on human resources topics necessary for all federal supervisors.
"Propel helps supervisors be as successful as possible in their new role, and that includes how to help motivate and engage their employees," said Thornton. "More engaged employees lead to a more productive workforce, which means the Warfare Centers as a whole are more successful in meeting their missions."
Propel students learn more about the warfare centers as organizations, what is expected of them as supervisors, who they are as individuals, who they need to be as leaders, how to ensure their teams are engaged and know how to succeed, and ways to effectively manage their time.
The class was designed to be taken within 90 days of being selected as a new supervisor. Students leave the classroom with relevant and practical tools and tips they can implement immediately, as well as a better understanding of the rules and regulations that apply to supervisors in the federal government.
Propel connects students with warfare center supervisors via real-life examples and case studies from the NSWC and NUWC workforce. The course is taught by warfare center division supervisors and subject matter expert guest presenters in human resources and business. New supervisors from all divisions come together to attend Propel, traveling to another division as needed in order to take the course within their first few months on the job - when it will be of maximum value.
"My favorite part of being an instructor is helping others to succeed, and seeing them find a 'light bulb moment,' where an idea or answer from the class triggers a solution for them," said Thornton. "By creating an atmosphere of open dialogue and sharing, I feel like I learn just as much as the students in the class do."
More importantly, the course helps about 20 new supervisors each month across the warfare centers by allowing them a space to ask their questions and get advice on situations they are already facing.
"The subject matter experts help students learn what difficulties exist in this job and how to avoid them, or at least manage them better," said Thornton. "The benefit of an in-class training is having experts right there who can answer questions. In the meantime, students learn the answers to questions they didn't know they had."
Propel's emphasis on practical leadership and supervisory skills is designed to empower employees as they transform to a supervisory mindset. Students most often leave the classroom with relevant and concrete tools to enable them to effectively engage their workforce, give constructive feedback, manage misconduct, and staff effective teams.
"First-line supervisors are the heartbeat of our organization," said Donald McCormack, executive director for NSWC and NUWC. "They staff, train, and equip the workforce to meet both the needs of today and the challenges of the future. Their jobs are difficult, and to better support them, NAVSEA warfare centers are investing in new programs and resources for supervisors across the organization."