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The Relationship between the Team and the Administration

by Shaun Fuentes


n every sport organization or sports team, just as in business, there are situations where there is under or over performance and most times it tends to come down to available resources. Most times for those looking on from the outside the perception is it depends on the quality of the coaching staff, the player personnel, leadership and finance. Sounds pretty straight forward right? It's not necessarily that simple.


So for as long as we can remember, particularly in our region we’ve heard about the team versus the administration, the players versus the ‘admin’ battles. We can recount numerous times where teams or athletes have found themselves in undesirable scenarios where there is misunderstanding either due to fall outs where one or the other has failed to perform their duties or simply come across as uncaring. The thing about sport is that the product is the team, the players, the athletes. They determine the success of the organization.


You could have the best rated chairman, CEO, President, marketing manager or even finance manager, if the team or the athlete flops, most times nothing else matters. It may sound unfair when an organization and the dynamics of it has to be judged on the on-field results, the majority of times anyways.


Cohesion is a key ingredient for any successful team or organization. It has been proven that groups with high cohesion possess traits that help them unite in the pursuit of a common ambition — they communicate better, have higher levels of participation, perform more efficiently, and have more trust in their organization than less cohesive groups do.


So whether it is a victory on the field or delivering a proposal that secures a lucrative sponsorship, a cohesive team will have an advantage. Having persons inside the office and boardroom that really care about what the athletes or the players are doing, their conditions and their mental state will always be better than having those around with the wrong energy and mindset.


The approach and attitudes of administrators and office staff have a very real effect on athletes and players. A team can be struggling to get paid on time or may be going through a rough patch but once they have in the back of their minds that the guys in the office and the boardroom have their backs and they simply care, it makes a world of difference. Trust me, I’ve been there in situations to witness it first hand.


The relationship between sporting director/ leaders/ admin staff  and team or athletes  has to be built on trust, respect and a clear vision of the organization. Maybe your program may be bringing results and is highly regarded or maybe you have a hard time avoiding relegation. Whatever the situation, it is vital that both sides create a shared vision and outline concrete steps how to follow it. This means having sufficient and fair input from the board, the coaching staff, the backroom staff, the accounts department, the marketing team, the laundry staff, medical staff and even the front desk receptionist and groundsman and of course the players.


There was an analysis of the HRM-Performance relationship for five Dutch professional football organizations done both qualitatively and quantitatively, on the basis of the well-known HRM-Performance model of Paauwe and Richardson (1997) that is adapted to fit the professional football industry.


Those investigated were Ajax, AZ, FC Twente, Feyenoord and PSV. The quantitative part of the research entailed collecting and analyzing seven years of statistical data about the HRM outcomes and sports outcomes of the individual organisations .


The results of the research show that all of the investigated organizations at some point in time created a long term view for the club. More importantly,  research showed that the HRM outcomes (i.e. employee and administrator skills, attitudes  and behaviors) significantly influenced the sports outcomes on the field of play.


People on a team collaborate on sets of related tasks that are required to achieve an objective. Each member is responsible for contributing to the team, but the group

as a whole is responsible for the team’s success. And this group includes everyone.

Teamwork involves shared responsibility and collaboration toward the common outcome whether it be securing medals at the Olympics, winning the Gold Cup or capturing the CPL.


Every organization has its own style depending on the leadership. Teamwork processes can be divided into three categories: the transition process, action processes, and interpersonal processes. And five characteristics of effective teamwork are shared values, mutual trust, inspiring vision, skills, and rewards. Conflict management and affect management are also key areas.


Okay so you may not fancy the head coach or the captain. But don't let that affect your contribution towards the effort. Focus on your role. Establishing conditions to avoid disagreement and resolving conflict when it occurs; and motivation and confidence building where  generating the willingness and ability of individuals to work together to achieve the mission is vital.


So while a  team or organization's success may be  largely measured by its season record; successful leaders and administrators  understand that forming strong relationships between athletes/team and the admin is just as important as achieving wins. Of course there will be lines that can't be overstepped. But remember we should really be part of one team. That's how it should be anyways. Understanding how to achieve this could be the real game changer in our region.


"The relationship between sporting director/ leaders/ admin staff  and team or athletes  has to be built on trust, respect and a clear vision of the organization."



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