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Why Workaholic Superintendents Are Job-Vulnerable

Jim McLoughlin


Myth: Golf course superintendents who consistently allow their personal work schedules to stretch to 60 and 70+ hour work-weeks are perceived as being dedicated to their jobs and are respected for this commitment profession-wide.


This is a dangerous myth that has cost more than a few superintendents their jobs through the years.


Why? Because the vast majority of those responsible for hiring superintendents are private-sector executives who require the managers they hire in their day jobs to be effective within standard work hour week schedules.


Consequently, employers eventually become impatient with and perceive over-extended superintendents to be weak managers because they lack the skill set to get their work done within a traditional time frame.


Failing To Delegate Is The Source Of The Problem

When superintendents fail to delegate properly the following debilitating results generally follow:


  • Because they do not trust assistants to do the same quality work as they can, they perpetuate the problem by failing to train staff and, consequently, take on an over-extended workload themselves that drives their weekly work-hour totals noticeably beyond reason.


  • History shows that superintendents who mismanage their own work schedules will also tend to mismanage staff work-hour schedules as well -- something that adversely and noticeably impacts program budgeting.


  • Because they feel their programs cannot function the same when they are away for a day or more at a time, they often work seven days a week and will not seek or accept in-season vacations, which suggests to employers that the superintendents have not trained, or installed proper discipline throughout their staffs.


  • They tend to over-play or under-play the role of a CEO superintendent, which confuses their ground crews and alienates their superiors.


  • They have little time to give to organize their office or maintenance facilities. (See consequences at Oct. 23 blog.)


The invaluable lessons to be learned here are that workaholic superintendents: (i) Sacrifice family time together to the point where they have the highest percentage of unstable marriages throughout golf; and (ii) Similarly, the highest job dismissal rate throughout the profession because employers do not respect their work ethic.


Allowing for unexpected emergencies and bad weather . . .


The sooner superintendents learn to delegate effectively and to work within industry standard work-hour weeks (six days at +/- 50 hours), the sooner they will be respected as professional managers and earn all the admiration and job security that comes with the designation.

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