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So, you want to be a Certified Club Manager.

Professional Development

As a club manager, professional development refers to the acquisition of skills and knowledge, for the betterment of your club, as well as your own personal and career development.

Professional development can provide the drive to improve your role productivity, progress your career, maintain industry competitiveness and, ultimately, can make you more employable. Professional development is something you will do every day of your life without even thinking about it; however, being conscious of the development you undertake will allow you to record and develop it in a systematic way. To maximise your potential for lifetime employability, you must maintain high levels of professional competency by continually improving your knowledge and skills.

Professional Competency is the behaviour displayed to translate knowledge and skills and leverage traits to deliver performance on the job. Competencies are related to job functions and, in a club, different roles will require different competencies.

More generally, competence is the sum of skills, knowledge and attitudes, manifested in behaviour. It is the "means" to achieve the "ends." A golfer, for example, may have the skills to drive 300 yards, the knowledge why the golf ball fades or draws, yet he is not competent if he does not practice or if he gets easily distracted by his opponent's banter. A club’s IT specialist may be very skilful and knowledgeable in maintaining computer hardware and networks, but if he cannot listen to and understand the needs and requirements of club team members, they lack competence.

Competency Standards

The following factors are usually considered in determining appropriate competency standards.

  1. Level of Decision-Making, Responsibilities and Authorities

  2. Level of Internal Personnel Interaction

  3. Level of Customer Contact and Interaction

  4. Level of Physical and Aptitude Skills and Knowledge.

Competency standards can be either formal qualifications or experience-based and can be set by different entities.

  1. Self-Set – as an individual you set which competencies and at what level those competencies should sit. EG You want to have good Work-Life Balance to maximise productivity.

  2. Business Set – the club defines the skills, behaviours and attitudes that club managers need to perform their roles effectively. EG A certain qualification or skill set to be able to undertake particular role functions.

  3. Industry Set – an industry or association determines standards to be met to work within that industry. EG The Club Managers Association of Australia Active Certified Club Managers Award (ACCM).

  4. Legislatively – the Legal requirement to meet minimum standards before practising/ performing certain jobs. EG Responsible Service of Alcohol or Gaming certification

Club Manager Competency Standards

Many studies have been undertaken on the subject of job competency for managerial and supervisory positions, and they can be categorised into four general areas and within each, there are specific competency areas.

1. Administrative Competencies:

  • Management of Time and Priority Setting.

  • Goals and Objectives Setting.

  • Work Planning and Scheduling.

2. Communication Competencies:

  • Listening and Organising.

  • Clarity of Communication.

  • Getting Objective Information.

3. Team Building or Supervisory Competencies:

  • Training, Mentoring and Delegating.

  • Evaluating Employees and Performance.

  • Advising and Disciplining.

4. Cognitive Competencies:

  • Problem Identification and Solution Provision.

  • Assessing Risks and Decision-Making.

  • Thinking Clearly and Analytically.

These competencies were found to be the most important or vital for managerial and supervisory effectiveness.

For club team members, physical and aptitude competencies are the largest part of their roles. This is due to the limited strategic planning and decision-making requirements involved. In most cases, the competencies they require are interpersonal relationship building, physical skills, and job knowledge.

When it comes to Club Managers, responsibilities widen in scope, authorities increase, and people management becomes more exacting. Competencies requirements change in recognition of these heightened responsibilities. If a club accounts officer is promoted to the position of Accounts Manager, their competencies will have to be enhanced. Aside from maintaining the technical skill in bookkeeping and accounts administration, they would need to be skilful in coaching, mentoring, scheduling of work, monitoring, appraising personnel and team building.

The same goes true for a Duty Manager who is promoted as General Manager, where the competencies would require more of weighing risks and making decisions, setting goals and standards, plotting directions, leading the organisation and inspiring the employees to excellence, rather than competencies in supervision, resource management and solving specific problems.

Specific Competencies

1. Management of Time and Priority Setting

Cutting across all position levels, time management is considered to be a required competency that must be possessed by everybody. It is the ability to manage both one's time as well as others. It includes self-discipline, controlling interruptions by moulding the behaviour of others who have varying priorities, and being time-effective and time-efficient.

2. Goals and Standards Setting

Setting goals and standards are usually competencies that are required for club managerial and supervisory positions. It is about the ability to determine activities and projects toward measurable goals and standards, setting these in collaboration with others to arrive at a clear understanding and elicit commitment.

3. Work Planning and Scheduling

Like time management, this competency must be possessed by club managerial and supervisory employees as well as those engaged in service delivery. It is about controlling manpower assignments and processes by using the major tools and techniques of management. This includes the following skills: analysing complex tasks and breaking them into manageable units, selecting and managing resources appropriate to the tasks, using systems and techniques to plan and schedule the work, and setting checkpoints and controls for monitoring progress.

4. Listening and Organising

Listening and organising are communication competencies that deal with relating to people in the club. It is about the ability to understand, organise, and analyse what one is hearing to decide what to think and do in response to a message. These competencies are appropriate for team members who deal with members and guests and those who manage team members. Specifically, they include skills like identifying and testing inferences and assumptions, overcoming barriers to effective listening, summarising and reorganising a message for recall, and withholding judgment that can bias responses to a message.

5. Clarity of Communication

Giving clear information is a competency required of club managerial and supervisory employees. Whether verbally or in written forms, the messages conveyed to audiences (whether internally or externally) should be clear and concise to achieve objectives. The skills would consist of a) overcoming physical, psychological, and semantic barriers in interactions with others; b) keeping on target and avoiding digressions; c) using persuasion effectively; d) maintaining a climate of mutual benefit and trust.

6. Getting Objective Information

For positions involving substantial people management, getting objective information is a critical competency requirement to ensure fairness. This competency is about the ability to use questions, probes, and interviewing techniques to obtain unbiased information and to interpret it appropriately. It considers such skills as using directive, non-directive, projective and reflecting questions effectively, using probing methods to elicit additional information, recognising latent and underlying meanings, confirming understanding and attaining an agreement.

7. Training, Mentoring and Delegating

For club managers, these competencies involve the ability to develop team members and assist them to attain higher levels of excellence. The skills could consist of coaching, advising, transferring of knowledge and skills, and teaching and pinpointing team members where tasks can be transferred with trust and confidence.

8. Evaluating Employees and Performance

The ability to undertake a constructive performance evaluation involving joint assessment of past performance, agreement on future expectations. The skills would consist of the ability to develop parameters of evaluation, benchmarking and face to face communication with the team members being evaluated without any bias and hesitation.

9. Advising and Disciplining

The ability to advise and counsel, as well as positively imposing discipline, are competencies required of club managerial and supervisory positions that handle a large number of team members. This is to restore, within the acceptable range of standards, the team member’s performance while maintaining respect and trust. It also involves the ability to impose penalties and sanctions with firmness and resolve in appropriate cases.

10. Problem Identification and Solution

Problem identification and arriving at solutions cut across club functions and job positions. It is about the ability to identify barriers that prevent achieving goals and standards. It also involves the application of systematic sets of procedures to eliminate and reduce the problem origins and causes. It requires skills like distinguishing between problems, symptoms and indicators, inputs and outcomes, gathering and assessing evidence relating to causes, and plotting a decision matrix and eventually choosing and recommending the best options. This competency is a requirement of positions that engage in evaluation, whether in managerial, supervisory, or technical job levels.

11. Assessing Risks and Decision-Making

Assessing risks and decision-making are competencies required of higher club managerial positions where decision-making can involve a commitment of club resources and processes that could have club-wide implications. Like problem identification and solution competencies, assessing risks and decision-making involves the ability to construct a decision matrix that aids to identify and evaluate alternatives and options, identify limits, desirables, and risks to be considered, assign weights to each option and choose the best option to achieve the desired goals and standards.

12. Thinking Clearly and Analytically

The ability to apply clear and logical thinking is a competency required for both supervisory and managerial club positions. The competencies include skills as determining valid premises arriving at logical conclusions from them, separating fact from hearsay, unwarranted assumption and false inferences, applying inductive and deductive logic appropriately, culling of logical fallacies, invalid premises and conclusions based on insufficient information.

As a basic process in determining competencies during job analysis, writing of job specifications and developing performance assessment instruments, one can easily be guided by plotting jobs against the 12 major competencies previously mentioned. Choosing which competencies and the mix should follow, with the most important competency taking precedence over the others. The degree and level of competencies that will be required will vary according to the scope of responsibilities, authorities, people involvement, and decision-making powers. Putting them in a matrix could provide a visual guide that would make the tasks easier and convenient.

The Club Managers Association of Australia (CMAA) has been supporting and developing club managers to achieve high levels of leadership and management ability for many years. The training and development of knowledgeable and motivated leaders that are capable of achieving greatness on behalf of their clubs is a passion of the CMAA. To this end, they offer the professional certification - the Active Certified Club Managers Award (ACCM).

Individuals who hold the ACCM, have demonstrated that they possess the skills, have the range of knowledge and can model behaviours that drive premium results for their club.

The foundation stone of the ACCM is the Club Managers Leadership and Management program, an online, training course, delivered by elevateB (a specialist training company) and independently endorsed by Australis College (a Registered Training Organisation)

The Club Managers Leadership and Management program has been modelled on the Diploma of Leadership and Management, ensuring it covers a full gambit of management and leadership topics. Importantly, it has been tailored and contextualised for club environments and day to day club management situations. To successfully complete the program, participants are required to demonstrate required knowledge, skills and abilities through application and activity submissions.

For more information on the Club Managers Leadership and Management program, click here.


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