Jan 29, 2015
Leadership Strategies

For the head athletic trainers and aspiring head athletic trainers attending the convention, another of Monday afternoon’s presentations should be of great interest: “Effective Leadership Strategies for Managing an Athletic Training Department.” This hour-long special topic session will be led by Cristina Haverty, Med, LAT, ATC, Associate Professor and Department Chair and Program Director of the Athletic Training Exercise Science department at Lasell College. Haverty explains what she will cover here.

The role of an athletic trainer has expanded to include duties beyond that of a clinician. Many athletic trainers occupy management positions as head athletic trainers, while others find themselves in supervisory roles overseeing students, graduate assistants, or interns. Regardless of the position or workplace, effective management begins with an understanding of the tools needed to be productive.

Managers use productivity as a measure of success, and productivity is often assessed as task completion. Moreover, research shows that effective management is more than just task completion. The most effective managers are those who utilize leadership skills to influence others. Not only will a leader’s influence result in increased productivity (increase in task completion), but leadership can also improve the atmosphere at work, improve employee satisfaction, and minimize burnout–resulting in the more effective accomplishment of departmental goals.

Effective management and leadership begin with an understanding of yourself and the people around you, identified as emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a combination of self-awareness and understanding the opinions and thoughts of others. Possessing emotional intelligence and exercising the skills of a transformational leader (who models, inspires, challenges, enables, and encourages) positively influences employees.

Ultimately, a skillful leader will become an effective manager though the additional acquisition of basic leadership strategies including:

• Clear expectations: Define roles, responsibilities and goals
• Feedback: providing formative and summative feedback
• Empowerment: encouraging innovation and an atmosphere that creates self-motivation
• Conflict Resolution: unresolved conflicts can diminish the work environment and productivity for everyone
• Task Management: analyzing your own job, delegating, and supervising

The acquisition of the aforementioned strategies can have a profound impact on the management of any athletic training workplace. Athletic trainers in management roles should create a positive work atmosphere that encourages collaboration and productivity amongst the staff. Athletic trainers can also develop a sense of empowerment and confidence when interacting with their supervisor, ultimately increasing job satisfaction for themselves and their staff.

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