Seven Qualities for Achieving Success as an AD

February 28, 2019

What does it take to be a successful athletic director or athletic administrator in today's challenging world of college and high school athletics. An article on the website for the Online Master of Athletic Administration Program at Ohio University provides seven important qualities that athletic administrators should strive for in performing their duties on a daily basis.

1) Strong Sense of Character Judgment

This about having the right staff in the right areas of the department. How an AD hires personnel shapes the program moving forward. Athletic Directors should have an intuition and deep understanding of others.

2) Excellent Communication Skills

The article states that the athletic director needs to place emphasis on clearly communicating the vision of the athletic program to everyone involved (athletes, staff, parents, alumni and supporters). So the AD needs excellent written and verbal communication skills—and the understand of what and how to speak to the various constituents because the way the vision will be communicated to each group will be different.

3) A Passion for Athletics and its Values

An athletic director has a passion for the value of participation in sports all that goes with it or they wouldn't choose to be in the profession. The AD needs to embody the values that come with playing sports, and demonstrate those values in performing the job.

4) Leadership, Tenacity and Heart

The article states: “The director is the ultimate leader. When he or she shows resilience, diligence, vision, tenacity, and heart, others will be more motivated to work together. Leadership takes many forms, so the director needs to recognize his or her strengths and apply them appropriately.”

5) Prioritization and Problem Solving

This includes making the right call when a tough situation arises. And it's almost certain that you have to solve difficult issues under the climate of limited time, money, and personnel, meaning there have to be priorities established. As a result, athletic directors “need to be able to see all sides of a given challenge.”

6) Vision and Inspiration to Embark on New Directions

The AD needs to always have an eye on where teams and the department overall should be headed to sustain the current success for many years to come.

7) The Ability to Keep it All in Perspective

“Athletic directors, like coaches, often find fame in being hard workers who show up early and leave late,” the article states. But it's important to remember that sports are just games not life or death. Many athletes and even parents and coaches don't know how to deal with major setbacks. It's up to the AD to create a supportive environment so coaches and athletes alike can bounce back and win after suffering a potentially devastating loss.

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