Introduction Welcome to Effective Team Management. This resource accompanies three workshops that support the Team Manager Development Pathway for sport in Wales. Its purpose is to provide a useful reference for anyone in the role of team manager, regardless of your sport, the level of team performance or the length of time you have spent in your role.
The three workshops in the series provide additional learning opportunities for those involved in supervising teams locally; overseeing overnight stays in the UK and abroad and managing groups during major national and international events. They provide a forum for new or existing Managers to network with their peers, explore and share best practice relating to the role, reflect on their current competencies and identify areas for improvement.
Section 7 of this document outlines the recommended development pathway and continual professional development relevant to the role.
Workshop 1 Workshop 2 Workshop 3
Section 2 Roles & Responsibilities The Team Manager What is a team?
“It’s easy to get good players. Getting’ ‘em to play together, that’s the hard part.”
Casey Stengel Mark Sanborn, an expert on teams, outlines the characteristics of a team as…
…being composed of a highly communicative group of people
…having members with different backgrounds, skills and abilities, so that it can pool these things to be effective.
…having a shared sense of mission and clearly identified goals so they know what they are trying to achieve and are able to measure success
High performing teams don’t compete with each other for recognition, but focus their efforts in pulling together to contend with people and situations outside the team. They enjoy being with each other and appreciate diversity. Teams don't spontaneously develop without effective leadership; the best leaders appreciate individual differences and play a key role in guiding, teaching, encourage, and organising the team to fulfil their full potential.
The Team Manager's Role
The sports team manager is a catalyst, causing things to happen for other people and stimulating the development of the team through nurturing a climate of trust, respect and shared ownership. To achieve this, the team manager will take on a number of different roles which may include some or all of the following:
Health and safety co-ordinator
Guardian of the code of conduct
Ambassador for your team or organisation
Although this may at first seem a daunting prospect, it is likely that you will have all played these roles at some point in other aspects of your life so can draw on these experiences.
Not only is the manager's role critical, but it is likely to change over time in order to keep meeting the needs of the team and each of its members. Managing the nervous excitement of young players is a very different proposition to managing the expectations of elite performers. Equally, managing an inexperienced support team is a world away from working with a team that has ‘been there’ and ‘done that’. As the management team and performers grow and mature, you may find that they need less of your direct involvement.
Effective team managers…
…have highly developed interpersonal skills and an understanding of what motivates people to commit and perform
…recognize the importance of balancing tasks (getting the job done) and people - ensuring that team members are focussed on their performance
…are willing to listen and have the ability to communicate effectively - a preference for listening and understanding is better than one of controlling and talking
…commit themselves to the team, and do not give up when the going gets rough, or success is slow to come
…are consistent in their quality of performance and their dealings with others
…’walk their talk’ and are role models for desirable team behaviour
…have the necessary physical fitness, mental toughness and emotional stability to be able to deal with the demands of the role
…are aware of their and other people’s limitations and have this covered
…have a well developed sense of humour!
Your Responsibilities “The Team Manager is responsible for everything around the field of play – not on it!”
Craig Hunter - British Swimming Olympic Team Manager 1998-2006
The responsibilities of the sports team manager1 are many and varied and include the following:
Providing a safe environment
Encouraging and promoting fair play
Being sympathetic to the needs and concerns of team members, particularly those who may need additional support
Supporting and liaising with other key ‘players’
Liaising with external organisations
Being knowledgeable about your sport and the rules of competition
Providing effective and timely communication to all relevant organisations and individuals
Be aware that your roles and responsibilities may be different during the competitive season to the build up period.
Take Action - CPD
Meet up with an experienced team manager at your club and find out what they do.
You could even arrange to observe shadow or assist them during an event.
Contact your Governing Body of Sport or your local Sports Development Unit for help on who to contact.
1 Appendix 1_Sample Job Description What you need to Know Below is a list of other things you’ll need to know. Most of these areas will be covered to some extent in this resource or as part of the Team Manager Workshops, however there will be other issues that will form part of your continuing professional development and will require you to attend further training.
The reasons people participate in and drop out of sport
How to support and motivate your team within agreed parameters
What to do in the event of a serious incident or emergency
Yours and other key ‘players’ roles and responsibilities
To be effective in all these areas you need some key skills2,many of which you will already have and some which you may need to acquire as part of your continual professional development.
Knowledge of your Sport
You do not need to be an expert in your sport but a certain amount of knowledge would be useful in helping you to…
…appreciate the specific safety issues relating to your sport
…understand the physical, mental and emotional demands of the sport on team members
…understand the demands of the sport on team coaches and officials
…understand the specific roles and responsibilities of others, particularly the team coach
…understand competition and tournament rules, regulations and procedures as these may vary depending on the level of competition
…get to grips with the jargon in your sport
…gain confidence and credibility and respect from others
Take Action - CPD
Improve your knowledge of your sport by:
Reading the governing body rules for your sport
Keeping up to date with any changes in the rules and regulations
Arranging to watch a training session or maybe join in
Arranging to watch a professional team play your sport
Spending a day with your National Governing body of Sport
2 Appendix 2_ Sample Person Specification Fair Play - Chwarae Teg If sport is run well and the people involved in it act fairly and consistently it can contribute to the development of an individual in many positive ways. Fair play applies to everyone involved in sport i.e. players, officials, coaches, team managers, parents and spectators. Your sport will no doubt have its own code of good practice, code of conduct or code of ethics3outlining core principles. These recommend and encourage appropriate behaviour but are only really effective if they are made available to all involved.
sports coach UK have produced a comprehensive pamphlet outlining a suggested code of practice which identifies the following key areas for coaches. The principles highlighted in this document identify best practice guidelines which could be equally applicable to everyone actively involved in any sporting activity. To make it more relevant you may want to consider developing a version tailored specifically for the needs of your organisation:
Rights – respect and champion the rights of every individual to participate in sport
Relationships – develop a relationship with athletes (and others) that is based on openness, honesty, mutual trust and respect
Responsibilities: personal standards – demonstrate proper personal behaviour and conduct at all times
Responsibilities: professional standards - to maximise benefits and minimise the risks to athletes, attain a high level of competence through qualifications, and a commitment to ongoing training, that ensures safe and correct practice
Fair Play means
Promoting the spirit of the game and fair play at all times
Treating others with respect
Respecting other people’s property and equipment
Treating all people equally and consistently, regardless of race, religion, sex, age or ability
Behaving appropriately and consistently and acting as a role model for your peers and performers
Being an ambassador for your team and sport and sometimes your country!
Take Action - CPD
Check your clubs or governing body’s code of good practice
Is it up to date?
Is everyone – players, coaches, parents, officials, spectators aware of it?
What happens when someone fails to meet the code?
Work with your team to explore their values to achieve a ‘buy in’ from everyone.
3 Appendix 3_Code of Good Practice Safeguarding Children “Abuse is not just physical it can be aimed to affect the mind and emotions, innuendo and silence can hurt too. Being safe is an enabler, not a restrictor. Life is for living.”
Diana Lamplugh OBE (Director of Suzy Lamplugh Trust)
As a sports team manager you are often in a position to develop close relationships with the young people you work with, in fact you may be asked to combine your role of Team Manager with that of welfare officer for your club or sports organisation. These young people may consequently trust and feel able to confide in you. It is therefore important that you are aware of your organisation’s good practice guidelines relating to working with children and in sport to ensure you are acting in a safe and appropriate manner. You must be approachable and remain neutral as it could be one of your support team that is implicated in a disclosure.
A child is defined as any young person under the age of 18 years. Child abuse is generally categorised into four main types; Physical, Sexual, Emotional and Neglect. Physical
In sport, physical abuse may occur when the nature and intensity of training exceeds the capacity of the child’s immature and growing body. Examples include a child pushed beyond reasonable limits in a training session; a young athlete being introduced to drugs to enhance their performance; a physically immature young person being given a weight training programme; giving alcohol to under-aged athletes as part of team celebrations.
To help you gain a better understanding of the stages in a child’s physical development look into your governing body’s Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) guidelines or sports coach UK’s workshop on the topic.
In a sports context activities which involve physical contact e.g. supporting or guiding children, have the potential to create situations where sexual abuse may go unnoticed. Abusive situations may also occur if adults in authority misuse their power over the young people for which they are responsible. Examples include using sexually explicit language in front of young people and taking inappropriate photographs of children. Showing pornography or inappropriate photographs to young people has also been used to ‘groom’ children for serious abuse. Parents may also be ‘groomed’ to gain private access to a young person for sexual purposes.
There are simple guidelines which if followed can help avoid uncompromising situations. Try to avoid circumstances where you are alone with a child and ensure all contact is appropriate. Follow your governing body’s guidelines for working with young people and remember it is perfectly acceptable to support a child if the activity requires it, in fact if a failure to assist could be deemed neglectful.
Emotional abuse in sport could include situations where parents or coaches subject children to constant criticism, sarcasm, bullying or unrealistic pressure to perform. Examples include a parent shouting abuse at their child from the side lines; a coach ridiculing a performer for having a bad game; a team manager allowing the team to isolate a member of the team that missed a shot.
It is important that the child’s needs are put before the adult’s aspirations and that performance goals are aligned with the LTAD model. Each individual responds to pressure in different ways, however very few can tolerate or rise above constant taunting and negative feedback. Positive reinforcement and shared goals provide a happier, healthier environment for the child’s emotional and sporting development.
Bullying is a serious issue and can be verbal, written or physical and involve adults as well as other young people. Bullying is defined as “deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves.”
Examples include name calling, sarcasm and racist taunts; stealing or hiding personal items; ‘initiation ceremonies’4 that are meant to ridicule, rather than welcome and ‘kangaroo courts’ where issues are dealt with inappropriately. Bullying of any kind should be dealt with quickly to prevent unnecessary distress to the victim.
Neglect within a sports context might occur if a coach or manager fails to ensure that the children in their care are safe or exposes them to undue extremes of temperature or an unreasonable risk of injury. Examples include a coach running a session outdoors in freezing temperatures without adequate clothing and equipment; a child being sent to a day training camp with nothing to eat or drink.
Planning, preparation and a focus on the child can help avoid the potential for neglect. For example, a simple reminder to parents of their responsibilities in providing adequate clothing and refreshments in advance of an event; the provision of spare and appropriate kit and equipment; an understanding of your own limitations within your role and an appreciation of the duty of care required all contribute to a safer environment.
A few examples of typical signs of abuse
a sudden change in a child or vulnerable person’s behaviour
unexplained bruising or injuries
a child using sexually explicit language or actions
a child or vulnerable person discloses information to you
If you have concerns
stay calm and never rush into actions that may be inappropriate – ensure the child or vulnerable person is safe and feels safe
listen to the child or vulnerable person
show and tell them that you are taking what they say seriously
reassure them and stress that he/she is not to blame
keep questioning to a minimum and be careful not to put words into their mouth
make a note of what they have said as soon as possible after the event5
involve parents, carers, or guardians where appropriate
maintain confidentiality – only tell others if it will help protect the child or vulnerable person
never take sole responsibility – consult someone else (the designated welfare officer at your club or organisation) so you can begin to protect the child or vulnerable person and gain support for yourself
follow the guidelines or procedures laid down by your organisation (e.g. Governing Body of sport, Local Authority or County Sports Partnership)
Talk to the parents or carers as something may have happened e.g. bereavement or divorce within the family which has caused a change in behaviour. However, if your concerns relate to sexual abuse or violence, action needs to be taken promptly and talking to parents may place the child under greater risk. In these cases consult the designated person within your organisation, who will be better placed to decide the next course of action. If they aren’t available or your concerns relate to them you must contact Social Services or the Police so the situation can be investigated.
In all circumstances the following principles provide a foundation for best practice when working with children.
The welfare of the child or vulnerable person is paramount and should be the first consideration
All individuals regardless of age, gender, racial origin, religious belief, sexual identity or disability have the right to enjoy sport free from all forms of abuse or sexual exploitation
Everyone in sport has a responsibility for the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable people taking part
We all have a responsibility to maintain confidentiality in all cases involving protecting the child or vulnerable person in line with current legislation and our organisations best practice guidelines and procedures
It is not your responsibility to decide whether or not a child is being abused, but it is your responsibility to act if you have any concerns by discussing it confidentially with your organisation’s child welfare officer, Social Services or the Police
This section offers a brief overview of what action to take if you have concerns about a young person. However you are advised to attend further workshops, or seek more information from the organisations listed in section 8 of this resource or your NGB.
Ensure you and your colleagues have had an appropriate Criminal Records Bureau, or Independent Safeguarding Authority check
4Appendix 4_ from Making the team: – changing the initiation ceremony
5Appendix 5_sample Child protection incident form
With acknowledgement to sports coach UK Safeguarding & protecting children
Safeguarding Children with Disabilities and Vulnerable Groups3.12.08
Team Manager’s need to recognise that some children and people have additional vulnerabilities because they may:
lack a wide network of friends who support and protect them
have significant communication differences
be subject to the prejudices and/or misconceptions of others e.g. about their ‘attractiveness’ to potential abusers
require personal intimate care, which may make it difficult for them to know what is acceptable and unacceptable in relation to appropriate physical contact
have a reduced capacity to resist either verbally or physically
be used to being told what to do – and not given choices
not be believed
depend on the abuser for their involvement in sport or for their basic needs
lack access to peers to discover what is acceptable behaviour
have medical needs that are mis-used to explain abuse
Children and vulnerable people may also be less valued than their peers and poor care may be observed and tolerated by others. Examples of this include not speaking directly to the child or person, failure to offer choices, the use of derogatory language and not respecting the individual’s privacy and dignity.
Reducing the potential for vulnerability
Bearing in mind that children and vulnerable people can be disadvantaged by these and other experiences, it is important for all those that work with them to be extra vigilant in creating a safe culture by:
Ensuring best practice at all times in physical and health care – make sure the person’s health needs are known, recorded and sufficient people understand how to respond if required
Building relationships with parents and carers and including the families of players in club activities
Discussing with parents and carers any physical care that is required and how this can be achieved
Carefully observing changes in mood, appearance and behaviour and discussing those concerns with families, carers or the designated person if suspicions or concerns are significantly aroused about the care of the person Guidelines1/09
Acknowledging that disabled children and vulnerable people may be additionally at risk and that vigilance is essential
Implementation of a club code of conduct for adults and children
Providing the child or vulnerable person with every opportunity to make informed choices and respecting those choices
Remember, advice and guidance is available from families and specialist agencies e.g. Education, Health, Social Services, Disability Organisations, Voluntary and community groups. Always ask if you need help to provide appropriate safeguarding or advice with supporting a child or vulnerable person’s participation.
With acknowledgement to British Judo Association and British Canoe Union