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Managerial skills in sport settings

By Shannon Kerwin, PhD; Ming Li, EdD; Laura J. Burton, PhD

This is an excerpt from Contemporary Sport Management, Sixth Edition, edited by Paul M. Pedersen and Lucie Thibault.

Managers at all levels possess certain skills that aid in the performance of their day-to-day tasks. As noted by Katz (1974), the skill sets of effective administrators can be broken down into three categories: conceptual skills, human relations skills, and technical skills. Interestingly, the amount of each skill required by a manager may change from organization to organization and may fluctuate with the level of management (Katz, 1974). Further, managerial skills do not function in isolation; most managers display multiple managerial skills at any given time. A summary of the link between each managerial skill category and the levels of management for the USOC is provided in table 5.3.

Table 5.3

A manager’s conceptual skills help to identify the root cause of problems rather than simply stating the symptoms of an issue. For instance, to redirect an unmotivated corporate culture, the CEO of the USOC may use his or her human relations skills to communicate with each of the chief officers to develop an understanding of the factors that influence the USOC’s corporate culture. Rather than diagnose and label the symptoms (e.g., poor productivity, low morale) of the issue, the CEO would use his or her conceptual skills to see the big picture and create solutions for the betterment of the USOC as a whole.

A manager’s human relations skills help in leading, motivating, and developing cohesion among employees. Within sport organizations, managers at all levels must work with a variety of employees including paid staff, volunteers, and interns. Thus, effective human relations skills are an essential component to the daily operations of sport managers.

A manager’s technical skills are directly associated with everyday tasks on the job. For instance, the chief financial officer (CFO) of the USOC must possess technical skills associated with budget management, management of internal and external audits, and financial planning. More specifically, he or she must also possess human relations skills when communicating with and directing supervisory-level managers responsible for preparing budgets using their technical skills in computer programs such as Microsoft Excel and PeopleSoft.

Learn more about Contemporary Sport Management, Sixth Edition.

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Contemporary Sport Management 6th Edition With Web Study Guide

Contemporary Sport Management 6th Edition With Web Study Guide

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