MBN for Supervisors

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Can you answer the questions below? 

Each question is tied to a core competency, an exercise from Managing by Network, and a list of the instructional topics covered under that competency.

We hope you’ll share these tools with your staff to strengthen their communication with agency colleagues, partners and community stakeholders.


Tools You Can Use

  • Q. What makes you and your agency the partner of choice?

    A. Your partnering skills. 

    Use the Open Ended Questions Guide (from Study Hall 5) to learn a new tool for communication.

    READ 31-Powerful-Questions.

    SELECT 3 questions to ask at your next staff meeting, 2 questions to ask at your next meeting with partners or stakeholders, and 1 question to ask to someone you are meeting for the first time.

    APPLY Ask these questions face-to-face, via email or phone call. Listen to gain new insights about the individual and your work together.

    REFLECT Consider how asking open-ended questions supports communication and strengthens your teambuilding skills.


    Partnering is covered in the following Managing by Network instructional topics:

    • Team Building & Teamwork
    • Leveraging Partnerships
    • Partner Cultural Awareness
    • Public Agencies, Nonprofit, Foundation and Corporate Cultures
    • Partnership Network Life Cycle
  • Q. How do you help stakeholders find mutually beneficial solutions?

    A. Through community collaboration

    Add these Facilitation Tools (from Study Hall 4) to your toolbox.

    1. REVIEW Creative Facilitation Tools.

    2. PREPARE Select one of these methods to use at an upcoming meeting and prepare for the meeting to introduce this tool.

    • Why did you select this tool?
    • Do you need to coordinate with the group or the meeting coordinator in advance?
    • Do you need support materials to use this tool?
    • What objectives(s) for the group will this tool support?
    • How might using this tool change the attitudes and behaviors of meeting participants?

    3. APPLY this facilitation tool at the meeting and then reflect on what went well (WWW) and what would you do differently (WWDD).


    Community collaboration is covered in the following Managing by Network instructional topics:

    • Collaborative Leadership
    • Facilitation
    • Conflict Management
    • Principled Negotiation
    • Persuasion
    • 7 Faces of Partnerships
    • Spectrum of Public Engagement
  • Q. How are you building on community strengths?

    A. With strategic thinking.

    Asset Based Community Development Mapping (from Study Hall 4) will help you find community strengths.

    DOWNLOAD Asset Based Community Development: An Exercise in Shifting Focus. (PDF) (DOC)

    READ the instructions on Page 1. 

    COMPLETE one or both of the activities: Part 1 - Community Asset Mapping (Page 2); Part 2 - A Portrait of Gifts.


    Strategic thinking is covered in the following Managing by Network instructional topics:

    • Vision
    • Entrepreneurship & Risk Assessment
    • External Awareness & Social Science Tools
    • Asset Based Community Development
    • Succession Planning
  • Q. How can you fine tune a partnership?

    A. Using partnership management.

    Assessing Partnerships (from Study Hall 2) will help you build smarter partnerships.

    1. REVIEW these Partnership Assessment tools: Digging Deeper - Finding Answers.

    2. COMPLETE one of the assessment tools for a partnership you work on.

    3. REFLECT on what you learned about the assessment tool, and about the current health of the partnership.

    • What is going well?
    • What are some areas for improvement?
    • Did you uncover gaps in the assessment tool, or in your partnership's practices?
    • How and when might you use this kind of assessment tool with your partners?
    Partnership Management is covered in the following Managing by Network instructional topics:
    • Political Savvy
    • Developing and Managing Agency Agreements
    • Donation and Fundraising Activities in Partnerships
    • Partnerships & Federal Ethics Guidance
  • Q. How can role-play help staff develop adaptive management skills?

    A. By helping demonstrate accountability

    Adapt to Change (From Study Hall 1)

    READ "What Would You Do? Accountab ility and Collaborat ive Leadership."

    WRITE the end of the story as a short essay or...

    SHARE bullet points of how you would end the story and takeaways from the assignment.

    Distribute to staff members and discuss ideas for how the story might end.


    Accountability is covered in the following Managing by Network instructional topics:

    • Planning and Evaluation
    • Consensus Building
    • Managing a Mix of Federal and Non-federal Funds
    • Digital Media Policies, FACA, PRA & FOIA Guidance

Instructional Videos

Instructional Videos

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Case Studies



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