Assess your leadership skills

Solid leadership skills will help you manage your course and help you advance your career. Good management skills will get you noticed and may help you move up to managing a larger staff, handling more complex projects or becoming a director of golf or the general manager.

Whether you are new to a supervisory role or you’ve been managing personnel for years, the following tips will help you sharpen your leadership skills.

  • Set goals. Create goals for your career and your team. Having a clear goal will keep you focused. Decide what success means to you and take steps to achieve it.
  • Learn from your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to take risks. If you try something new, you may get astonishing results – good or bad. However, if your idea doesn’t work out as planned, figure out why and what to do differently the next time.
  • Toot your own horn. You can be the best superintendent and supervisor in the world, but if no one knows but your employees, it won’t help you move ahead. Speak frequently with the green committee or board to keep them in the loop about how you’re getting the fantastic results they’re seeing. Take credit for your achievements and make sure others are aware of your talents.
  • Network. No matter how much you think you know, you can always learn more. Communicate with different departments, members, other superintendents in your area and supervisors. Make contacts and share information; you never know who could turn out to be a potential resource.
  • Plan ahead. Don’t get too comfortable. If the unexpected happens, you must be marketable. Attend continuing education courses, volunteer in your community and encourage your staff to do the same. A good leader worries not only about his/her career, but the career paths of his/her team as well.
  • Communicate. When you assign a task to your staff, make sure they know exactly what is expected. Be specific, but don’t micromanage. Let them know they can come to you with questions or concerns at any time.
  • Listen. Involve your staff in problem solving and encourage their ideas. Responsibility and accountability will make your crew more involved and invested in the success of the golf facility.
  • Give feedback. Feedback is important to keeping staff members engaged. Praise them when things go well and give gentle criticism (always in private) when necessary. If a subordinate knows he/she is doing good work and has your approval, the good work is more likely to continue.

Sources: “Increasing Your Management Skills Will Be Your Best Career Investment,” National Seminars Group, Career Think, July 28, 2006; “Your Guide to Management,” F. John Reh,; “A Young Manager Assess the First Year,” Norm Spitzig, MCM, Club Management Perspectives, January 2005.