High performing teams generally don’t compete with each other for recognition, but focus their efforts in pulling together to contend with people and situations outside the team. They enjoy being with each other and value the diversity in their group.
Yet teams don’t spontaneously develop without effective leadership; the best team managers and leaders appreciate individual differences and play a key enabling role in guiding, teaching, encouraging and organising the team so that they achieve their full potential.
Therefore the role of team manager is incredibly important!
The sports team manager is actually a catalyst, causing things to happen for other people and stimulating the development of the team by enabling a culture of trust, respect and shared ownership.
To achieve this, the team manager will at various times take on a number of different roles including (but not limited to):
Health and safety co-ordinator
That could be seen as seriously daunting, but of course not all these roles are employed simultaneously (and, some are never used at all).
Not only is the manager’s role critical, but it is likely to change over time in order to keep meeting the needs of the team and each of its members. Managing the nervous excitement of young players is very different from managing the expectations of elite performers. Equally, managing an inexperienced support team is a world away from working with a group that has ‘been there’ and ‘done that’.
You can also draw on your experiences outside of sport and your observation of others as you go about your management of the team.
So think of a good sports team or general manager that you know of either personally or via the media?
What makes them good at their role?
Is it their vast knowledge and experience?
Is it their attributes and behaviour?
And, how can you acquire these attributes and skills?
It is important to note that as a team manager you are far from alone in what you are attempting – remember that you are part of a team yourself, and a member of a sporting community that includes coaches, officials, athletes, and other managers and support staff, the vast majority of whom are willing and able to offer advice and support.
In the next topic we’ll jump straight into some of that advice!