Team management is a multi-dimensional activity, so what makes an effective team manager?

Great team managers:

  • have well developed interpersonal skills, as well as an understanding of what motivates people to commit and perform;

  • they are able to recognise the importance of balancing tasks

  • have well developed communication skills, with overarching preference for listening and understanding rather than controlling;

  • are committed to the team, and are dogged in their pursuit of success whatever the situation;

  • they show consistency in their dealings with others

  • they are role models for desirable team behaviour;

  • they are able to deal with problem team members and make decisions without prejudice;

  • have the physical fitness, mental toughness and emotional stability to be able to deal with the competing demands of the role; and

  • have a well-developed sense of humour!

For all the things that an effective team manager does and the skills they require, it is interesting to note that you do not necessarily need to be an expert in the sport you are managing.

That said more than a passing interest in your sport is useful to:

  • appreciate the specific safety issues surrounding the sport you are managing;

  • to understand the physical, mental and emotional demands of the sport on team members, on team coaches and on the officials;

  • understand the specific roles and responsibilities of others;

  • understand competition and tournament rules, regulations and procedures; and

  • gain confidence and credibility and respect from others.

So what about the sport that you are involved in today?

What are your functional responsibilities (that is, the tasks you need to perform to ensure the team competes)?

What are your pastoral responsibilities (that is, the things that you need to do to ensure team members are supported)?

And what are your community responsibilities (that is, the things that will ensure your team honours and respects the values of your club and sport)?

The case study below links to the Team Managers Handbook for Australia Canoe/Kayak Team.

How well do you think it links these three responsibilities?

Does it preference one or two over the others?

How might these gaps be filled?