One of the more difficult and stressful aspects of being a Director of Tennis is staff management. You are not only responsible for your own performances but also for those of your coaching staff.
After many management positions in both the tennis coaching and fitness industry I have compiled a list of key points to make your life as a manager more productive, successful and less stressful. Managing a large group of employees requires a certain skill set for a manager to gain the respect from their employees. You do not necessarily have to be friends with your employees but you do need to be friendly and respectful of each persons own beliefs and individual personalities.
One of the hardest aspects for me personally when it comes to managing was the hiring and firing of staff. When it came to hiring i always placed more emphasis on the interview and the candidates’ references than just what their resume looked like. I have met many people with outstanding resumes but who were unable to deliver and live up to the hype that surrounded them. When hiring a coach it is recommended to have them coach a lesson and then you can really see how they coach, their knowledge on tennis, how they handle the student and the drills that they use during the lesson.
When it came to firing a person it was always, and will always be, something that I dread doing. It is never a pleasant feeling telling someone that their services are no longer needed. However, I strongly believe that if someone is being paid to do a job then they need to be able to handle the requirements that come a long with the job. It is all about doing what is right and being respectful of the fact that people depend on that income to live.
Below is a list of key points that will help you to become a good manager, hopefully avoid the “firing” aspect of your position by hiring and retaining good employees and being able to run a successful program.
First is to hire the right person for the position and do all you can do to retain them. The extra bit of money required to retain those exceptional employees will be worth it in the long run.
Don’t try to become great friends with your employees as it will be a tough and difficult situation if you find yourself having to talk to that person about their responsibilities and performances. Be friendly but maintain a professional friendship!
Act professional at all times. You must lead by example and practice what you preach! Be on time and punctual, take care of your own responsibilities and lead by example.
Be a leader and make decisions based on what is right and best for the situation.
Develop rules and policies and then set goals for all employees to achieve these goals on a daily basis. Use your meetings to cover any neglected or new policies.
Conduct weekly meetings. Don’t waste your employees time by having meetings just for the sake of having them. Don’t judge the success of a meeting by how long it goes rather by how much was achieved during the meeting.
Constantly try to educate yourself on new tennis drills, exercises, skills and techniques or attend conferences where you can gain fresh information to pass onto your coaches.
Reward your tennis coaches when they do a great job. It could be a simple as taking them out for lunch or what most like and that is a pay rise or bonus.
Keep each individual’s pay packet confidential and make it a policy that employees are not to ask, discuss or talk about their salaries with other coaches. Otherwise you will have some unhappy tennis coaches if they find that they are at the lower end of the pay scale regardless of how good they are.
Be fair but firm!
Have a back-up plan if one of your coaches leave. Your best option here is to maintain a large network of fellow coaches to call upon when looking for a new coach. One thing you don’t want to do is to turn away customers because you don’t have enough coaches!
Improve on your communication skills. Talk to your coaches and ask them how they are doing or if they have any feedback about what can be done better with the programs. They will respect you for asking them their opinion.
Be honest because if you get caught-out lying then your staff will lose respect for you.
Have fun and provide a pleasant working environment for all coaches and staff.
Learn to work with employees if they are having personal problems that they need to deal with.
Be organized and structured!
When promoting an Assistant Coach to the Head Coaching position you should always try to promote from within as long as you believe that one of your current coaches can do a good job.
By promoting from within you are rewarding your employees and providing them with an incentive to stay and do a good job.
Learn from past experiences, realize that you will at times make the incorrect decision but always try to do the right thing at the time and you will soon develop into a respected manager!
Good Luck with your tennis programs!