Fundamentals of ­Management’s ­inaugural course

Rob Kepple

TDCAA Executive Director in Austin

I am proud to report that on October 11–13, the Texas Prosecutor Management Institute held its first training—the pilot for what we hope will be a long-standing program for teaching prosecutors how to manage and supervise employees.
    With financial support from the Foundation, we began our efforts in March when we hosted a management training and development session in Fredericksburg. We took what we learned there and, with the help of our experts in the field, Bob Newhouse and Sharon Lucas, we developed the Fundamentals of Management for Prosecutors Course.
    The training program was beta-tested at the Harris County DA’s Office—the participants selected for this first class represented a cross-section of experience in the office, and their job was not only to learn, but also to stick around after the course to help us de-bug it. Many management principles apply to all business environments, but this course is tailored to the unique aspects of prosecutor’s offices.
    So what did participants learn? As the name of the course implies, we worked on fundamental skills of an effective manager: self-assessment, communicating with different people, conflict and conflict resolution, core management competencies, and effective coaching. For me, learning about how I best work with people around me was invaluable. And gaining insights into how to successfully resolve conflict in the workplace—that was priceless.
    Over the next year, our vision is that this training will be ramped up for every prosecutor’s office that wants it. Because this class is best taught by a team of experienced prosecutors, we will hold a version of TDCAA’s Train The Trainer course specifically designed to teach this curriculum in the coming months. It will take time to train everyone on this fundamentals course because there are plenty of people who have been managing for years in prosecutor’s office who have never had any formal training. We’d like to see everyone currently in a management position go through the course. After that, it can be taught on a regular basis for people who are newly promoted to a position with management duties.  
    This is not a “one-and-done” class. It takes repetition and follow-up. There are many other topic areas that will need separate courses—effective hiring practices, evaluating employees, basic employment law, and more—and we envision those will be developed in the coming years. Some of the training, both core courses and supplemental ones, may be provided through the TDCAA website.
    I want to thank the Foundation Board of Trustees for their support of this program. Their vision is that a well-run prosecutor’s office enhances the quality of justice in the courthouse on a daily basis, and this effort promises to take prosecution in Texas to a new level of professionalism.
    Stay tuned for more information as we ramp up this program. If you would like to know more, just give me a call at 512/474-2436.