October 2014

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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20 SportsTurf | October 2014 Facility & Operations | By Sarah K. Martin, CSFM I quickly discovered after taking a job with the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation department 13 years ago that managing the turf was going to be the "easy" part of my job. I had gone from a staff of two (including myself) to a staff of 14. Doesn't seem that complicated, right? Managing the crew soon became the biggest issue I had. The 10 main things that helped me to become a better manager are: Learn what each individual's strengths and weaknesses are. Work them to their strengths, while teaching them to improve on their weak- nesses. Take the time to work one-on-one with staff to learn how they work. Do they hate line trimming? Do they love infield work? On the job training is great, but also take advantage of classes and seminars through your local STMA chapters and other organizations. There is something about getting off-site that helps to improve learning. Seeing how other facilities handle situations is another great learning opportunity. Be organized! Know what needs to be done and delegate tasks evenly to the crew. Part of this is knowing how long each task will take as well as which tools and equipment will be involved so that everyone has access to what they need. Asking someone to do a job only goes so far if they don't have the proper tools at hand to accomplish the job. Set your staff up for success, not failure. Communicate! I can't stress this enough. Staff will not know what you want them to do, or how you want them to accomplish it, if you do not tell them! Seems basic, but it is often overlooked. Take the time to go over details, and ask staff to repeat them back to you to make sure that they heard what you were trying to say. For instance, you might ask an employee to trim the trees by the football field up above 8 feet, and what they hear is to trim the trees by the baseball field into shrubs. This will show you that more clarification and instruction is needed. Do not play favorites. You will naturally have crew members with whom you feel more com- fortable. Do not allow this to cause you to treat anyone with favorit- ism. Make sure to distribute tasks evenly. Unless your situation does not allow it, teach all the staff to do all the jobs. Just because you mainly do infields does not mean that you do not need to know how to change a sprinkler head. You aren't there to be anyone's Crew management: handling your most valuable asset There are many ways to manage. Take the time to find your style, all the while remembering that people have their own way of learning, so be flexible.

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