Managing a team – the key to success
Managing a team well requires many skills, not least that of leadership. Florence Orban explores what is often thought to be one of the most challenging aspects of management
Successful managers never underestimate the importance of good teamwork. They know that being able to build an effective team is a valuable skill and have learned how to get the best performance from each member, whatever their strengths and developmental needs.
According to management consultant and author Gregory Huszczo, there are seven key components to building an effective team and this is true for the sport and active leisure industry. These components include recruiting talented members, developing constructive interpersonal and external relationships, establishing clear and enticing responsibilities, as well as maintaining efficient systems to control, monitor and review staff.
One of the most important components is a sense of direction. If teams are given clear and concise goals to work towards – both short and long-term – they are more likely to work efficiently. In addition, there needs to be good reward and recognition systems in place to make staff feel valued.
However, as we all know, sometimes we have to deal with challenging employees. A situation, if not handled correctly, can quickly result in a dysfunctional team. Such a group of employees can be recognised when individuals’ needs overrule those of the team and there is a lack of interpersonal skills, low levels of motivation, a lack of responsibility, poor performance, feelings of resentment, a lack of trust and poor communication. Left unchecked, this will ultimately lead to poor business performance.
This is when good leadership skills come into their own and can pay dividends. According to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), leadership is one of five key areas that are most likely to impact on the future financial performance of a business. Good leaders are able to get the best from their teams, earn their trust and lead them towards business goals – crucial to the long-term success of any company.
There are several leadership styles but two are particularly useful to any business in our sector. The task/team/individual orientation style is based on the theory that a manager’s leadership style reflects the relevant importance given to achieving the task, building the team and developing individual team members. On the other hand, the authoritative/delegative style refers to leaders who focus on tasks and also on those who focus on members of the team. There is no right or wrong approach but rather a case of recognising how well the team responds to a particular style.
Delegation, if used effectively, can be a wonderful thing. It allows managers to focus on other areas of the business, while individuals can develop their skills and work towards achieving the company’s targets. Managers wishing to adopt the delegative style must first be able to identify the potential of good leaders. The five most important qualities are loyalty, dependability, integrity, fairness and determination. Leaders also need to have an interest in others, be able to inspire, show empathy, be firm, flexible and even demonstrate good humour.
Of course the ability to keep team members motivated is vital. Not only is it an important way of improving productivity and customer service, it is essential for employers wanting to attract and retain skilled, loyal staff. (We shall look at the topic of motivation in greater detail next month). So in today’s competitive environment, leadership and management skills have never been so important. If health clubs, leisure centres and sports clubs are to succeed, there must be strong, motivated teams in place.
In this regard, the Skills Academy can help to make a real difference – whether it be offering advice on the best leadership and management courses available or how to access funding for this learning. We work in conjunction with approved training providers across the country as well as the CMI and Learndirect. The CMI Level 2 in Team Leading is one of a series of progressive management qualifications delivered in partnership with Park Lane College in Yorkshire. This qualification is designed for people who have line management responsibility for a small team and is intended for those who need to maintain and develop their staff.
The Skills Academy is also working with Bradford Sports Consortium, which delivers a host of training and qualifications in management and leadership. All levels of staff from supervisors to CEOs can access a mix of funded, accredited, non-accredited and bespoke training. As well as classroom-based programmes, there are also a variety of e-learning courses available. These include ‘Briefing Skills’, which is ideal for anyone responsible for briefing suppliers, their manager or team, and ‘Maintaining Discipline,’ which helps managers to identify the rules that apply to those they manage and to better understand their role in enforcing them.For more information on the leadership and management courses available from the National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure, visit www.sportactivensa.co.uk
Florence Orban is interim chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure. For more information on the National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure, visit www.sportactivensa.co.uk
For previous NSA columns and other articles in The Leisure Review visit the features page.
The Leisure Review, June 2009
© Copyright of all material on this site is retained by The Leisure Review or the individual contributors where stated. Contact The Leisure Review for details.