Golf Course Management

APR 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 41 of 159

38 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 04.18 Author Dennis Lyon, CGCS (center) with two turf professionals he has mentored, Joe McCleary, CGCS (left) and Devin Mergl, at the Rocky Mountain GCSA Symposium in November. McCleary is the stormwater operations superintendent for the city of Aurora, Colo., and Mergl is the assistant superintendent at The Club at Flying Horse in Colorado Springs. Photo courtesy of Devin Mergl intendent had instructed his staff to occa- sionally skip the cleanup round on greens mowed with the triplex mower during peri - ods of slower green growth, to avoid excess wear. The superintendent was very aware of the requirement to provide superior course conditions during club events, but he failed to communicate to employees never to forgo cleanup rounds in the lead-up to such events. The discord between the expectation and the instructions that had been communi - cated produced an undesirable, avoidable outcome. I recall similar missteps in my own career that stemmed from communication that wasn't exact or thorough. As mentioned, communication also in - volves accurately receiving information, and though superintendents can't listen for their employees, they can guide them toward bet - ter habits. I once worked with a superinten- dent who, because he assumed he knew what I was going to say, would often stop listening partway through our conversations. Because of this, there would be times he wouldn't follow the instructions he'd been given, al - though in his mind, he'd done exactly what he'd been told. My solution, in addition to emphasizing his responsibility to become a better listener, was to put important informa - tion for this employee in writing. The micro- vs. the macro-manager How one manages others reveals the value they place on positive human connec - tions. In my view, there are essentially two types of managers: the micro-manager and the macro-manager. The micro-manager is an autocratic leader. This person wields a my-way-or-the- highway attitude, and, in their opinion, they're an expert in all things work-related. Communication is almost always top-down, and the only work accomplished by employ - ees is that directed specifically by the micro- manager. This type of leader minimizes human connections and usually isn't well liked or respected by employees. The micro-manager does not delegate ef - fectively, which results in the manager work- ing endless hours while overall productivity remains below its potential. If you've ever worked for a micro-manager, you're unfortu - nately familiar with the general misery bred by this style of leadership. In today's work cli - mate, the micro-manager stands little chance of sustained success. Are you able to look a member of your crew in the eye and inspire that person to be a better employee? Are you a visionary? Some - one your employees respect and admire? Are you humble, collaborative and kind? Kindness — showing concern for others, valuing who they are, appreciating what they do, and expressing these sentiments to them — is a trait worthy of its own discussion. An exceptional leader improves morale, moti - vates staff, and gains trust and loyalty simply by being kind. Kindness gives rise to employ - ees who feel valued and appreciated, and who in turn are more dedicated and work harder to accomplish organizational goals. Such re - turns from staff are cost-free and common- place for the exceptional leader who nurtures positive human connections. To understand how vital the positive human connection has become in the cur - rent workplace, I find it helpful to think back to the "good old days" — a time when my employees came to work expecting just a pay - check and hopefully job security. As anyone in the golf business knows, those days are gone forever. In the modern workplace, em - ployees want and expect quality-of-life con- siderations, and the job itself is only part of their equation. While some managers may see this shift in employee desires as some - thing negative, it holds promise for excep- tional leaders who cultivate positive human connections, as they're able to offer their team members an enjoyable and fulfilling work environment. Conscious communication I believe strongly in the saying "One can - not not communicate," and as a supervisor, when you're among employees or customers, you must always be "on." During my years as a manager, I'd often overhear comments like, "What's wrong with the boss today? I hope he isn't mad at me." Although I almost certainly had nothing related to one specific employee or situation on my mind, whenever my employees would see me, they would pick up on and internalize any nonverbal mes - sages I was sending. Communication can be verbal, nonverbal or visual, and it's a two-way process involv - ing the sender and receiver. The exceptional leader is cognizant of the different methods in which they may be communicating at a given moment, and is mindful of commu - nicating accurately and whether their mes- sage is being received and understood. The receiver also has a responsibility in this "com - munication contract" to comprehend the in- formation being conveyed, and, if necessary, to ask questions. A situation I encountered a few years back offers a good study in the importance of precise communication. A fellow super -

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