Sports management is increasingly becoming a mainstream industry in many societies today. Most of its professionals happen to be former athletes who embark on helping other individuals reach certain athletic goals, which is a positive thing because managers end up understanding client needs. But understanding what athletics want to achieve is not enough for success in the industry. In fact, it counts very little, which makes it important for those managers to undergo business training that will help them oversee all activities in their organizations efficiently and professionally. What follows below is an investigation of what makes successful sport managers. This will include a literature review on sports management, an explanation of skills that are seen on sports managers, and an investigation of performance indicators among others.
The art of sports management refers to the application of business principles in overseeing sports activities (What is Sport Management 2008). This has been a growing industry that has seen many universities include it in their curriculum (Jones 2005). Even professional organizations have been forced to chart new horizons for the industry (Chicano 2004).
Role of a sports manager in a managerial environment
Sports managers are tasked with leading their teams in making decisions that will achieve organizational goals values and mission. This is achieved through the interpersonal, informational, decisional roles that managers must perform in the course of their work (Allen, 1998).
Roles involve ensuring that information between employees and the management is provided and received in the manner it was intended to. The manager has at this point to be the figurehead of the organization at all times and in all actives, even when a representative has been sent to carry out that role. The manager further represents workmates to the higher level of authority in the organization, this is most likely to be shareholders or owners. Still, in the interpersonal role, the manager serves as the liaison between employees between all departments in the organization. The manager is also a leader of the group. Sports managers must therefore remember that they are the head of their respective organizations, including employees, clients, or team members in the case of colleges.
Roles are meant to link to management in a sports organization together. This involves the leaders of various teams and workgroups within an organization. The top manager is tasked with monitoring and disseminating tasks within the organization as well as being the spokesperson of the management. In the monitoring stage, the manager is supposed to understand whether all the projects that are supposed to be going on in the sports organization are going on as planned.
This information is passed to the manager from representatives of all departments in the organization. The dissemination sub-role means distribution duties to each department in accordance with skills and specialty. The manager should thus ensure that each team, which most likely deals with a wholly different issue from others, has all it needs to accomplish the roles efficiently and professionally. As a spokesman, the manager is supposed to communicate managements’ concerns or messages to the board of directors and other stakeholders’ effective. This is an important role; the manager becomes the link between the management, employees, board of directors, regulators, clients among other stakeholders.
Roles are meant to enable sport managers to use the information available to them in the decision-making processes. Being in such a position makes the sport manager behave as the organizations’ top entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator, and negotiator. As an entrepreneur, the manager takes responsibility for any risk or outcome of the activities undertaken by the organization. Sports managers should therefore be go-getters who are always looking for bigger opportunities for their organizations. Failure to do so will see the competition taking lead in the industry, and probably put the organization out of business.
As chief disturbance handlers, sport managers should always be on guard regarding misconducts that go against rules and regulations set by the organization, industry, or regulators. Managers should also ensure employee disagreements are settled so as not to interfere with normal business operations. As chief resource allocators, managers should ensure that each department receives the much-needed financial and human resources to perform its tasks as expected. And finally, as negotiators, it is up to sport managers to represent employees and shareholders in the negotiation process with other stakeholders. This includes clients and suppliers.
Overall role and skills required of the sport manager: successful sport managers should develop six important skills (White, 2005):
- Observation: This skill enables managers to understand what is going on in the organization without asking other members of their team. The manager should arrange regular visits to different departments to understand the goings in various areas.
- Monitor Employee Performance: Sports managers should be able to monitor each employee’s performance in order to estimate team member’s contribution to productivity. This enables managers to advise underperforming employees on ways to increase productivity, whereas those that are performing well should be rewarded accordingly.
- Managers should be able to implement professional management programs that will enable employees to increase their productivity. This is also useful when a sports organization has new equipment or programs that employees have to be accustomed to in order to serve clients well.
- Managers should demonstrate good decision-making processes that consider all parts of arguments and comfort to the organization’s long-term strategies.
- Managers should demonstrate knowledge and expertise in leadership and sports activities that the organization they lead undertake.
- Managers should also have the knowledge to conduct research on various organizational needs.
Successful sport managers are the ones that demonstrate the four key performance indicators (KPIs) of strategic planning, human resource management, financial resource management, and management information systems. The four KPIs are discussed in detail below.
Strategic planning stipulates the direction an organization is headed to, measures are taken to ensure it gets there, and management’s conviction whether they will be able to help their organization reach that goal (McManara, 2007). Strategic planning focuses on the entire organization, not just a department of the same. Indeed, it is the combination of the goals of all divisions of an organization. Some organizations may choose the top-down model of developing overall strategic plans, and then require departments to develop individual plans that conform to those of their organization.
A sports manager is therefore supposed to combine the goals of all departments of the organization into a framework that will form strategic plans. The manager should be at the forefront of designing the organization’s mission (what the organization wants to achieve, which could be higher customer satisfaction), vision (or what the organization would want to be in a stipulated period of time) and values (what the sports club stands for, that is, what sets it apart from competitors). The sports manager should use leadership skills to the headrest of the team in creating a strong foundation for the sports club. Further, the manager will be required to informing employees and stakeholders to understand the sports club’s mission, vision, and values.
Human Resources Management
A successful sports club manager should be aware of the organization’s staffing needs. The first step understands all the jobs that need to be accomplished in the organization, and the qualification of each personnel. On knowing the number of employees needed and what they need to possess, a sports manager is supposed to understand the cost of that labor. This enables the manager to see whether the spots club can afford to employ permanent employees.
If not, the possibility of contracting outside help is advised. Such decisions are totally based on cost-benefit analysis regarding the sports club’s ability to retain full-time employees and the quality of the job that would be done by contracted individuals. Should the manager see it fit to employ full-time workers; the next move should include developing processes to recruit and retain employees.
The recruitment process could be done either by the club or through employment bureaus, where the manager would provide specific requirements for candidates. The recruiting agency will thus accept applications and forward the most qualified candidates to the sports club manager. The manager can then interview those candidates and pick the most qualified ones. The use of an employment agency would save the club manager lots of valuable time.
The sports club manager should be involved with processes of designing incentives that will help in retaining employees. First would involve good working conditions, which will help in increasing workers productivity. Second, salaries and wages provided should be competitive compared to other competitors in the industry. Third, the club’s manager should give all employees room to contribute to the generation of ideas that will lead to accomplishing the strategic plans of the organization. Such initiatives should be rewarded accordingly and will lead to high performance among employees.
By performing those tasks, the manager will help his club to retain the best employees. The manager should further help new employees understand the organizational and industrial rules and regulations, which they will have to abide by. Educating employees in such a manner will lead to high-quality workers that will understand client needs and what is expected of their conduct by the organization, relevant industry, and regulating authorities. Another role of the sports club manager involves the management of employee records in regard to attendance, conduct, benefits, insurance, and other compensation. Performing the above roles professionally will ensure that employees are satisfied with their duties and responsibilities, which they perform professionally due to the trust accorded to them by the management.
Successful sports club managers should be able to develop systems for monitoring organizational financial resources. This is a practice that should be done at all times throughout the club’s existence. The goal of every manager should be to use the available resources as capital to be used to provide services that will bring more revenue to the organization. Failure to plan or manage them will thus precipitate the clubs’ closure due to losses. The first step should involve an understanding of the club’s financial resources, which will necessitate planning. The plans that accrue to that process should be communicated to all departments of the organization so that department heads, as well as employees, conform and thus help the organization reach specified goals.
Proper financial planning during budgets will allow the allocation of resources in departments according to the needs and revenues that will accrue. However, it does not mean allocating more financial resources to higher-end projects of the club. The manager should ensure that those projects with huge potential of serving client needs better and increase revenue are accorded enough resources. The manager should further provide appropriate resources that will result in the improvement of services rendered to clients. A sports club manager is further tasked with ensuring that proper accounting standards are followed and records kept appropriately (Lawrence, 174).
The manager should further oversee the preparation of annual reports that give a true picture of the club’s financial status (Lawrence, 174) because that is the foundation for making the right decisions regarding the organization’s future performance. The resulting reports are important because they are used by shareholders to gauge the performance of their investments compared to the competition. Should the club be performing poorly compared to its competitors’ the manager could be under the hot spotlight from shareholders, some of which could claim to divest from it altogether. This could mean a loss of jobs for the manager himself and the rest of the team.
A strong performance could mean more capital to establish other services or branches, which could lead to more business, better pay, and success of the club, employees, and all stakeholders. That should be the financial goal of each sports club manager. The manager should ensure utmost adherence to reporting procedures laid down by regulators. This is also an ethical issue that could impact the club negatively (and even closure) should the manager fail to ensure such adherence.
Management Information Systems
The club manager should take the advantage of utilizing technology in streamlining the process and managing activities of the organization. Apart from lowering the cost of running the club, technology will also ensure accuracy in many processes, such as scheduling gym machine maintenance, managing employee records and members accounts among others. Another advantage of utilizing technology is the communication between clients and the club.
The manager could, for instance, advise the IT department to develop programs that will help in the creation of clients’ training schedules. These programs should enable clines to log into the club’s network from their homes and offices and see what is arranged for them during the specific training day. Also, the manager could employ the use of technology to pass information around the facilities regarding repairs, new equipment, and other announcements.
This will enhance communication between the club, employees, and clients. The use of TV monitors in training halls should also be advised; they could be used to show training videos, be commentated to fitness channels, and could also be used to pass important information within the facility. The training equipment such as treadmill should be equipped with help functions so clients can be attended when needed—thus increase customer satisfaction. The manager could further utilize technology to keep a timetable for machine maintenance. This will further be connected to the technician’s computer. As a result, the club will always have machines that operate to their best capacities, much to the desired customer satisfaction.
McManara, C., 2008. Strategic Planning (in nonprofit or for-profit organizations). Web.
Allen, (1998). Managerial Roles. Web.
Chicano, P., V., 2004. Sports Management: A Sector in Expansion. Web.
Jones, J., D. 2005. History & Evolution of Sport Management. Web.
White, 2005. Web.
Winthrop University 2008. What is Sport Management. Web.