Most often we find that Club Presidents find themselves in a position where they seem to do all the work that should be spread out across the board/committee and volunteers. It’s an unfortunate position, but one that can be remedied. To be a successful Club President, you must be a leader and put certain leadership practices into play.
Leadership stems from social influence, not authority or power. This relates to you as the Club President because there are a myriad of responsibilities that need to be covered in the running of a club and the more people you have managing those responsibilities, the more successful you, the board/committee, and the club will be.
To put it simply, you can get more done if the committee is actively engaged and involved in the workings of the club. Having them engaged properly depends on your leadership skills. In this article, you will find some suggestions and what skills to build to help you on your way.
Possessing all of the best skills in the world won’t help you as a President if you can’t build strong and positive relationships. Sports clubs depend heavily on the good graces of others and, to get and keep them interested in the organization to the point where they want to see it for more than what it can give back to them personally, they have to care about the club itself.
You must get out of your comfort zone and get to know your board/committee, the parent members, and the community. When you kick off the year with your board/committee, have a session or at least an exercise where you get to know each other on a personal level. Make sure it’s clear to everyone that their opinion and contributions are valued and that everyone will be heard. And live up to that mantra at every board/committee meeting.
Attend the competitions even if your child isn’t participating. Talk to the families around you, ask them how things are going, and be open to listening to what they have to say. Talk to them about the successes the club is having and where you may need help. Talk about upcoming events or projects and if you need volunteers.
Make it a concerted effort to make contact monthly with any local and national organizations, businesses, or single supporters. Schedule it and get creative with your Marketing or Social Media Coordinator. Consistently attend community events or get in front of potential new partners that you would like to have on board.
Building these relationships allows you to function as a President successfully. You will build a network of connections that will ensure the club is secure and future-proof.
Clearly Defined Roles
Having clearly defined roles and responsibilities ensures there is no ambiguity or tasks that fall through the cracks. If a task or decision comes up that seems to not fit a defined role, then align it with the closest one. The tendency will be to take that responsibility on yourself, only do so if it aligns with your role.
It’s been shown that when a board/committee knows and understands their role, they are more engaged and even more likely to collaborate positively with each other. The committee acts as a team, collaborating, and supporting each other to positive outcomes.
Having defined roles will reduce redundancy, reduce conflicts, save time, and potentially reduce the risk of losing sight of important tasks.
If you have Board or Committee member job descriptions, it’s a good idea to review them yearly to ensure they are fit for purpose. If you do not have job descriptions, you can find examples here on www.yoursportsresource.com.
Yearly Goal Setting
Early in the season, it’s important to set goals for the year that align with the Club’s Vision and Values. When setting the goals, it’s important to map out how you are going to get there so you understand the tasks associated, the people required to accomplish the goal, and any funding that needs to be allocated or raised. It’s important to have one or two sessions to set the goals so you have a high-level view of what and who the board needs to be successful.
Recruiting, Training, and Upskilling
Once you have an understanding of what is needed, it’s time to delegate and find the right people for the tasks. It’s important to know that you as the president should not be doing all of the work. The role of the President is to ensure there is a plan and that it’s executed upon. This means you assign out the work, track its progression and quality and lastly, clear any roadblocks that may arise. This is why relationships are important. If you aren’t building your relationships, then the work will fall on you and the few, which means it will be hard to reach the club goals.
“The role of the President is to ensure there is a plan and that it’s executed upon.”
You may have committee members who are well suited for specific tasks or leading sub-committees. You may have to go outside of your committee and find the right person with the right skill set to execute certain tasks. You may need to bring in someone to train or upskill your volunteers or maybe that upskilling, or training will come from you.
The point is that part of clearing roadblocks is to ensure the quickest route to executing a goal is available. Throwing people in the deep end or having unrealistic expectations is the quickest route to NOT executing on the goal.
At the start of the season, the board/committee did a high-level view of what they wanted and who they needed. The next step in having the right people in the right roles is to ensure they do a deeper dive into the plan for executing the tasks. They then should have that plan signed off by the board/committee, so there are no surprises.
This is essential, often there can be misunderstandings or miscommunication and if there isn’t a solid check-point then you could end up with something different than what is expected and/or spending more than you budgeted. A plan will also give you something to check progress against. You will be able to have meaningful conversations with specific details to ensure they are on track.
Do not skip this process!
Executing on your Responsibilities
In addition to leading the club through greatness, you have your specific responsibilities. The biggest one is ensuring the club complies with its constitution and by-laws and any legislation that keeps the club in good charitable standing. Alongside that is to ensure that the club’s policies and procedures are sound and fit for purpose and most importantly, followed.
While these may sound restrictive or bureaucratic, let us assure you they are not. First, processes are meant to be in place to make things easier for you and your volunteers/staff. There is no wasting time trying to figure things out because there’s a process. No task is done three different ways by three different people because there’s a process. Think of processes and procedures as the oil of the engine, it allows everything to move easily but in a specific way.
Additionally, ensuring you follow your constitution, by-laws, and any legislative requirements is essential for the continuity of your club. If you lose your credibility as a reputable club, it will be difficult to keep your members. If there are issues with your constitution and/or by-laws, put forward your recommended changes at the AGM. Also, you have no idea when you might face an audit from the IRS. Losing your 501c3 status will not only devastate the club (or more likely, force a closure) but your own personal reputation is at stake as your name as well as the rest of the board/committee’s names will be associated with wrongdoing, which is made public.
It’s not worth the risk even if you are well-intentioned. It’s best to operate in a way that is transparent and on the up and up and that all sit with you and your Leadership.
Being a Successful Club President is all about how you lead. If you can build your relationships, pull together a direction, and ensure you set everyone on the path to deliver that direction then you will not only have a successful club this year, you will set the tone and path for future years.
Need help? Whether you need a simple conversation or full consultation services, let us know. We are happy to help you.