Golf Course Management

NOV 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 57 of 99

56 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 11.18 strikes a chord with other superintendents who, like me, might not have a strong passion for turfgrass or golf and have possibly taken a less common path into this field or discov - ered something along the way that changed their outlook on life. I want to share what I've gone through during what has become a journey of personal growth and a quest to define what it means to be present and effec - tive as a leader. Also, I personally enjoy flip- ping through GCM when not every article is about nematodes or nutrient ratios, so I thought I'd fill your time by sharing a part of my personal story. I started mowing lawns when I was 12 … oh, God, I've lost you already. OK, OK, I'll get to the point! What is leadership? As I flip through the various trade maga- zines, such as this one, I've noticed an uptick in the number of articles on "leadership" — typical clichés, the inspirational poster quotes regarding leadership. Certain events in my life over the past few years have raised the ques - tion, "What does it really take to become an effective leader?" For me, it has involved deep introspection, a somewhat consistent medita - tion practice, light reading material from my favorite gurus and real attempts to do some heavy deconstruction of my conditioning from the beginning of time. But, dang, that's really difficult! Support your team, and it will respond in kind Let me back off the therapy session and share a couple of stories that have been a part of the reason I reached this point. is first relates to an article from the August issue of GCM, written by Nate Scott, regarding "transformational leadership" and how it re - lates to something I heard at our last state chapter conference. A speaker was describing a mindset of some superintendents and other managers who intentionally keep those below them on the management tree from growing, learn - ing or developing into leaders of their own. e reason? ey don't want to lose their assistants to another position or give them enough experience to take the manager's job. is blew my mind. I couldn't believe what I was hearing — someone would actually, pur - posefully keep someone down to make them- selves look better. Wait — yes, I can, but that's beside the point. Don't we want our assistants and ev - eryone else on the crew to learn as much as they can, mainly so we don't have to do every - thing ourselves? We know one component of leadership assessment is how competent and skilled the people below you are and how they feel you've helped them gain the tools and ex - perience they need. Yes, it's inevitable that if you plan to stay where you are for the next 20 years, your assistant probably isn't going to stick around. But, if they sense you are loyal to their growth and success, they will return that loyalty, and they might help you train the next guy in line instead of leaving on a whim for a place where they simply may feel more valued. A transformational leader knows that not just his assistant, but the entire team, will sup - port him if he supports them. e concept of transformational leadership also applies to staff retention. is can be a challenge for us in the temperate zone, where winter sometimes extends into what we call "third winter." What does your staff look like This photo from 2015 of Elkhorn Ridge Golf Club's par-5 No. 5 hole shows the course's elk-track bunkers leading to Elkhorn Peak in the background. Photos by Greg Brandriet what is it, do you have it and how do you get it? at's great for us, because it pertains di - rectly to an important part of our jobs: leading people. It's a quality I feel is often overlooked, undervalued or unavailable when it comes to evaluating potential candidates for manage - ment, superintendents in particular. Skimming through any issue of Forbes or Harvard Business Review will show that "emo - tional intelligence" typically ranks No. 1 on the list of qualities desired for upper manage - ment. Direct correlations can be made to the success of an organization and the emotional intelligence of those at any level of manage - ment, whether that's a CEO or a second as- sistant in charge of the bunker crew. In the golf course maintenance world, the success and cohesion of teams like yours can depend greatly on the empathy, motivation and self- awareness of the person in charge: you. Speaking of you — let me interject with my story and my quest to dig deeper than the

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