A large part of my job is talking with field managers. Whether I’m interviewing you on the phone, talking with you in person, emailing you, or engaging you on Twitter and Facebook, I’m pretty much in constant communication with you.
One of the questions I often ask – and one of the questions in SportsField Management’s monthly Q&A – is: “What’s the most important quality required to be a successful field manager?”
Among the most frequent answers I get?
Or as one field manager so eloquently put it to me recently, “Patience is when **** hits the fan and you have to keep a level head.” I’m sure that statement rings true for all of you.
So what about patience? Some people will tell you that you’re born with it, or born without it. That assumption means that patience is something that can’t be learned, or a skill that can’t be acquired with practice and understanding.
I disagree with that.
I think it can be learned.
Think of how often patience is needed at your fields. It could be patience with a crew member, whether it’s a subordinate or a boss.
How about patience with older equipment that you still need to rely on to get things done?
And let’s not forgot about patience with the grass. (Every one of you is nodding your head in agreement right now.)
So, if you weren’t born with a patient disposition, how do you get it? There are plenty of resources out there. For example, Forbes magazine published an article titled “5 Powerful Ways Leaders Practice Patience.”
Check out these tips on learning how to be patient and why it’s so essential to your success:
See through the lens of others: “It’s always easy to quickly judge and share your opinion about how others manage certain circumstances,” the article says. “As a leader, you must be objective enough to step back and remove yourself from personal opinions and begin to see the situation at hand through the other person’s lens.” If you manage a crew, think about how this applies to you – remember that there’s often more than one way to complete a task. Just because it isn’t how you’d do it, doesn’t make it wrong.
Evaluate tension points in an unbiased way: “Always be mindful of other people’s specific needs, approach and style.” This ties into the previous point. It’s important to show that you care about your employees’ particular areas of concern.
And for those of you who aren’t managers, when questioning methods of your supervisor, try your best to look at the situation from an unbiased view – you may see that your supervisor is simply doing the best he or she can under the circumstances.
Listen and ask questions with a positive attitude: “The power of a smile and a positive attitude can have an amazing effect on the practice of patience.” This one is crucial for those of you in situations where you’re working with reduced budgets and staffing, which can be a major point of stress. Get in the right frame of mind and only worry about what you can control.
Seek perspective from a trusted resource: You don’t know everything. When you find yourself growing very impatient and not able to handle a particular situation, seek advice from a mentor or someone you trust who can provide you with the perspective you need to succeed.
Don’t run away from being responsible yourself: “The next time you encounter a situation that tests your patience … be prepared that it might be you at fault.”
As a manager, self-accountability is essential in earning – and keeping – the respect of your crew.