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Second best simply won't do

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Worcester City Council boasts two dual-use sports centres in the ‘excellent’ category and we believe we are the only authority in the UK to do so. We’ve done it by nurturing a workplace culture where second best simply won’t do.

The accolade for the St. Johns Sports Centre and Nunnery Wood Sports Complex came after an independent assessment by Quest, the UK Quality Scheme for Sport and Leisure. Of the one thousand sites or so which Quest have visited throughout the UK, only 12 have received a score of 90% or more, a level achieved by our sports centres in Worcester.

As public sector cuts impact, managers can easily be dragged down in a mood of gloomy despondency which can permeate the entire workforce. As the pressure increases the temptation can be to cut corners, and this can often mean neglecting the pastoral care and personal development of remaining employees.

To succeed as a manager, you have to lead by example – especially in the difficult times. I believe that attention to detail and a passion and enthusiasm for my job is clear to see and this helps to motivate and develop the other members within our team.

In order to sustain excellence, you have to be genuinely committed to the personal development of every team member. This is particularly important in the current economic climate. Motivation and enthusiasm can be seriously affected when individuals can’t see any opportunities to learn new skills or enhance their careers.

Mentoring within the team is essential – as is encouraging an environment where staff support and look out for each other. Often where teams fail, it is because of a lack of clarity about the role each individual plays within it.

Every employee at St. Johns and Nunnery Wood has a defined part to play within the team, and a clear and concise understanding of what is expected of them. They work very hard at least in part because they don’t want to let their colleagues down. Having a clear role within the team means they are empowered to make decisions within that area.

It also makes it easier to recognise and reward good performance – when roles and responsibilities within the team are blurred, it is much harder to do this in a fair way. When you get the culture right, staff want to stay.

Our full time management team has been in place for over 10 years now, which contributes consistency, experience and a depth of knowledge to the two sports centres we operate in-house. It also means that there is a high level of trust within the team – essential to delivering excellent results.

We won’t be resting on our laurels. We are already starting to prepare for the next inspection in two years’ time. We will be scrutinising every aspect of service delivery and challenging each other to continue to enhance the quality of the customer service experience we provided.

After all, that’s why we exist in the first place and we never lose sight of that crucial fact. The day you are totally satisfied with the work you and your team are doing is the day to start looking for a new job - and a new challenge.

Alan New, business development manager, Worcester City Council

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