Glossary of Supervisor-Training Terms

You'll run across the following terms in Supervisor Training@Iowa courses and other supervisory development programs:

Table: Glossary of terms from supervisor training

Term Definition
Diversity Diversity refers to all aspects of human difference, social identities, and social group differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religion/spirituality, age, (dis)ability, military/veteran status, political perspective, and associational preferences.
Dysfunctional conflict The opposite of functional conflict is dysfunctional conflict. With dysfunctional conflict, the group tension becomes more intense and personal, and the results often include lower morale and reduced organizational loyalty.
Engagement Gallup defines engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Those that are not engaged may be satisfied but are not emotionally connected to their workplaces and are less likely to put in discretionary effort. The actively disengaged are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace and can jeopardize their teams’ performance.
Equity Equity refers to fair and just practices and policies that ensure all campus community members can thrive. Equity is different than equality in that equality implies treating everyone as if their experiences are exactly the same. Being equitable means acknowledging and addressing structural inequalities — historic and current — that advantage some and disadvantage others. Equal treatment results in equity only if everyone starts with equal access to opportunities.
Functional conflict “Conflict” often carries a negative connotation but functional conflict means individuals in a group discuss points of disagreement with a spirit of collaboration. When conflict is functional, individual employees experience personal development and the group as a whole typically has more positive morale. Innovation and creativity are heightened in functional conflict because group members become more aware of their roles and discussions spawn fresh ideas.
Inclusion Inclusion refers to a campus community where all members are and feel respected, have a sense of belonging, and are able to participate and achieve to their potential. While diversity is essential, it is not sufficient. An institution can be both diverse and non-inclusive at the same time, thus a sustained practice of creating inclusive environments is necessary for success.
Macroaggression Obvious, intentional, above board insults, where there is no chance of a mistake on the part of the transgressor (as is the case of micro-aggressions) to be provoking, insulting, or otherwise discourteous.
Microaggression Commonplace verbal or behavioral indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults.
Onboarding Merriam-Webster defines onboarding as the act or process of orienting and training a new employee. Here at UI, we’ll define onboarding as our process to welcome and support employees during their transition to a new position. You can also think of onboarding as a way to invest in our people and get them engaged.
Stretch assignment Bersin & Associates defines a stretch assignment as a project or task given to employees which is beyond their current knowledge or skills level in order to “stretch” employees developmentally. The stretch assignment challenges employees by placing them into uncomfortable situations in order to learn and grow.
UI core values In planning, setting priorities, and carrying out every aspect of its mission, The University of Iowa is guided by seven interdependent commitments, our core values. 
UI Health Care ICARE values Values established for UI Health Care employees that focus on how employees engage in the work they do.
Upskilling To improve the aptitude for work of (a person) by additional training. More than a third of respondents to a 2019 PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey indicated this was the third most important factor in deciding on a job, after salary and benefits

The following terms address different forms of bias:

Table: Forms of bias
Form of Bias Definition
Affinity Refers to the tendency to look more favorably upon those who possess similar attributes/backgrounds to your own.
Contrast Occurs when an interviewer compares candidates to each other or compares all candidates to a single candidate. It can also occur when a supervisor compares and contrasts one employee to all the other or one other specific team member.
Cultural noise Occurs when candidates answer questions based on information they think will get them the job or says something they know their supervisor will regard as favorable. Basically, they say what they think the interviewer/supervisor wants to hear. 
Gender Occurs when there is unequal treatment in employment opportunity (such as promotion, pay, benefits and privileges) and expectations due to attitudes based on the sex of an employee or group of employees.
Generalization Occurs when interviewers assume candidates’ mannerisms in the interview are part of their everyday behavior. It can also occur when a supervisor who sees or works with an employee infrequently, assumes certain behaviors are typical when the behaviors are not part of their everyday behavior. For example, candidates who are nervous in the interview can be generalized as always nervous.
Halo Refers to applying a positive attribute and transferring that positive attribute to all other aspects of the person’s background, qualifications, or usual behavior.
Horn Refers to applying a negative attribute and overemphasizing that negative attribute to all other aspects of the person’s background, qualification, or usual behavior.
Nonverbal Occurs when influenced by body language. A concerned look on a search committee’s face or an affirmative nod when listening to candidates answering questions can send incorrect signals.
Recency Occurs when recalling the most recent information and not weighing information equally for recent and distant past.
Stereotyping Occurs when assuming a person has specific traits because they are a member of a group. If job requirements include lifting 50 pounds, one might inaccurately assume women cannot meet this requirement.

Download a PDF version of this glossary.

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