0 Are You Management Material?

FrankNewberry2015 2In the first of two articles, Pitchcare Trainer and Motivational Speaker Frank Newberry looked at the difference between 'supervisors' and 'managers' and explored what it might take to be a good supervisor in the sector.

Frank now explores what might make a good manager and whether you can get beyond supervision - on your own terms


This two-part article is for you if you are already in supervision or management or you aspire (one day) to be in supervision and/or management.

In part one, I suggested that, if you have an aptitude for supervision, then you will feel comfortable making significant decisions about how work is going to be done, e.g. manually, mechanically, one person alone, in small teams etc.

A good manager, on the other hand, will feel comfortable making significant decisions about 'what' work is going to be done, e.g. contracting out services to other organisations and for what price. They are happy deriving the work objectives of others and do not mind being seen as people who impose targets on others.

We may need to be less reactive and more proactive

Perhaps the main shift that is required is in our thinking. We have to transition from thinking like a 'supervisor' to thinking more like a 'manager'. We may need to be less reactive and more proactive; to think less in terms of maintenance and making the best of what we have got, in the present, to 'shaping the future' of our organisation, our department, our team and our work.

In order to make this transition, supervisors have to learn to use their imagination in new ways. They have to be able to move from their current reality and imagine a new reality. They need to think how they can introduce new or better ways of doing things, or think up new or better services to offer people.

Rare long horn cattle, buffalo and deer can be seen by golfers

They may even need to consider new opportunities like, for example, 'multi-functional' golf courses. In some places, golf courses permit horse riding, cycling, hiking and fishing. Some golf clubs lease their land to farmers and to wildlife parks so that rare long horn cattle, buffalo and deer can be seen by golfers as they play.

Such ideas can bring more visitors into the wild world of the golf course and, potentially, more income to the golf club in the medium and long term. These services can expand the remit or role of the turfcare professional as they start, for example, to learn, or take on staff, to perform animal husbandry etc.

Such combinations of services can bring the golf club into the heart of the local community and not just into the hearts of those who are interested or can afford to play golf regularly.

The concept of 'shaping the future' of your facility or venue

I give the above example to illustrate the concept of 'shaping the future' of your facility or venue - something managers have to do or facilitate.

So, why don't we all just end up as managers rather than stay as supervisors? Well, you, like me, have perhaps seen very happy head groundsmen and head greenkeepers move into general management, taking charge of other departments, only to very quickly leave the organisation altogether or bounce back into jobs in turfcare.

It has been my experience to see these people often leave for jobs in the trade (selling tractors or fertiliser) or for jobs in education (teaching in college). Some have even left the turfcare sector altogether.

When I have asked about these sudden changes in career direction, the answers have often been similar.

They missed the operational parts of the job

Most popular amongst the reasons given have not been that they were unable to think strategically or conceptually, as the management job demanded - they just did not find the work as meaningful as turfcare. They missed the operational parts of the job.

They missed being the 'go to guy' for turfcare problems at the venue. They missed the camaraderie and the day to day banter with people who liked and respected them. They missed being a big fish in a small pool and found it hard to adjust to being a different shaped fish in unfamiliar waters.

However, for every one of those people who found management not to their liking and preferred a less well paid, but more meaningful job in familiar territory - I can name another who made the transition quite easily.

Maybe you can transition to management - on your own terms

So, if you are ready to move from the known to the unknown; to a place where you have less expertise and experience, but where your current experience and expertise has a value, then maybe you can transition to management - on your own terms.

If you are ready for some new faces rather than just familiar faces, if you are up for managing stakeholders rather than supervising subordinates (been there, done that!); if you are ready to learn strategy and not just tactics, then maybe management is for you. I hope you will at least consider it. The turfcare sector deserves to be managed by its own.


You can book now for supervisory training this winter.

Make sure you get a place on the next round of the highly rated Pitchcare Supervisory Essentials Workshops. If you are:
- Untrained as a supervisor
- Aspire to be a supervisor in the future
- In need of a refresher

LANTRA accredited Pitchcare workshops this winter (that earn BIGGA CPD points), and are relevant to you as a groundsman or greenkeeper, include:

Supervisory Essentials 1, 2, 3 and 4 - a series of four stand alone workshops:
- Taking Charge
- on 12 November 2015
- Getting Better Results - on 10 December 2015
- Enhanced Communication Skills - on 25 February 2016
- Problem Solving & Decision Making - on 24 March 2016

You can take one workshop or two, or three or all four. You can join the hundreds of other groundsmen and greenkeepers and gardeners who have been helped by Pitchcare to become key players in their own organisations.

For more details, including how to book your place on all Pitchcare workshops visit the website www.groundsmantraining.co.uk or contact Chris Johnson, Pitchcare's Training Co-ordinator at chris.johnson@pitchcare.com

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