Professional Development for Your Club Management Team

Club general managers wear many hats and have wide-ranging responsibilities. Given the many duties of the position it’s easy for some of the less pressing aspects of the job to be neglected. Yet there is one facet of leadership and management that may ultimately hold the key to better club organization and improved club performance – and that is to take an active role in the professional development of your club’s management team.

Here are some tips and topics to organize and deploy a Professional Development Program at your club:

  • Use the Bully Pulpit of your position to encourage subordinate managers to improve their professional development and career skills. Your active engagement and involvement in such a program will foster improved commitment to you and your agenda as your team recognizes your interest in their development.
  • Leadership. Encourage managers to embrace a consistent service-based style of leadership. Make sure they understand the benefits to this powerful approach to leadership in hospitality operations.
  • Membership By-Laws and Rules. Assign them the task of reading your club’s by-laws and membership rules and hold periodic discussions of these to ensure their comprehension. A better understanding of how clubs are organized and what rules apply make them more knowledgeable about their jobs and those of their work teams.
  • Human Resources. Make sure they are schooled in the basics and underlying rationale of human resource policies, practices, and techniques. A better understanding of these will not only enhance your club’s HR disciplines and practices, but will add to each of your team member’s management skills.
  • Employee Development and Disciplinary Guides. As with human resources, a better understanding of how to motivate staff, improve communication and morale, as well as guidance for counseling, disciplining, and, if necessary, discharging problem employees will prove invaluable to both your club and the individual manager.
  • Accounting and Financial Management. A thorough understanding of fiscal responsibilities and disciplines will help your operation and make your team members better all-around managers.
  • Legal and Liability Issues. Every club manager must be familiar with the basics of these issues. They are at the heart of liability abatement at your club and a critically important knowledge base for any manager.
  • Organizational Values and Culture of Service. The foundational importance of these is essential to any organization intent upon engaging staff and providing high levels of service. Every manager must recognize and embrace the need to define and consistently reinforce values and culture.
  • Training. Managers must understand the challenges and opportunities of formal club training programs for both managers and employees. Recognizing the importance of training in a detail- and people-intensive business, as well as the experience of developing training material, is invaluable to the club and each manager.
  • Professional Reading List. The general manager should make a reading list available to the management team, develop a club professional reading library, and make reading certain leadership and management books a requirement of annual work plans.
  • Leadership, Management, and Service Quotes. Use quotes to foster discussions among your management team at weekly staff meetings. A continual focus and reminder of the topics involved will provide constant reinforcement of the important things that underlie success in business in general and the club industry in particular.

The quality and efficacy of a Professional Development Program is directly dependent on the committed involvement of the general manager. As the director of your club’s enterprise and leader of your management team, you have a great opportunity (some would say responsibility) to influence your subordinate managers through your leadership and example.

If you take a hands-off approach to your team’s professional development, only a few will seize the opportunity for self-improvement. On the other hand, when you are directly involved, engaged with your team on the subjects involved, and set both the example and requirement of professional development, your team will embrace the opportunity you are providing. On many levels such encouragement to learning and developing is one of the most important and personally satisfying things you can do to improve your operation and develop your staff.

Bottom Line: A constantly encouraged and reinforced Professional Development Program for your club managers will strengthen the management disciplines of your operation, while providing education, experience, and career growth opportunities for your managers.

Note: As can be seen from the links above, much of the material necessary to establish a Professional Development Program has already been created by Club Resources International. All you need to do is use the tools to organize and implement your own program.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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