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Management in Parks & Rec: An Employee's Perspective

Many people get into parks and recreation because they care about the well-being of their communities. As a parks and recreation professional, you put in work to make sure your organization creates opportunities for your neighborhoods to get active and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.


That being said, most parks and recreation groups are governmental – meaning management may have levels of bureaucracy to deal with, in order to get things done. An effective management team should be good with leadership and direction, while fostering that passion that is inside your employees. It’s not easy to be an effective manager. Here are some of our best tips, from the perspective of a parks and recreation employee.


Leading with your Team


These days, management styles are rapidly changing to meet the needs of millennials coming into the workforce. In the past, it may have sufficed to simply manage your employees but now it’s important to empower and engage them, if you want to keep them motivated and productive. Command, control and fear may work short-term but this won’t keep them engaged in the long run. There has been a shift for managers to become more involved and part of the team. It’s no longer the case that employees are working for the manager’s benefit alone; now the managers and employees are working together to achieve the same goals.


Technology Is a Friend


One of the biggest challenges for parks and recreation organizations is figuring out how to mobilize youth in their communities, getting them to unplug from tech to explore the beauty of nature. This challenge is that much more difficult, without keeping an open mind to new technologies. For better or worse — most likely both — technology will change the way things are done. For example, there are a number of apps and games entering the market that encourage people to get outdoors. Some people may criticize the fact that they’re on their mobile phones while out in a beautiful park. If the alternative is them sitting at home on the couch, this is a much better option.


Act as a Committee


Vulnerability is a necessary part of creativity and innovation. If you’re not stepping outside your comfort zone, you can’t innovate. Your team should be most effective, when it becomes a cohesive unit and the management is working alongside the employees, in order to reach organizational goals. Goals should be set on individual and organizational levels, giving the group direction and purpose. This cohesiveness should allow more of your employees to embrace vulnerability and, with management directly partaking in all the action, you’ll be a much more effective team.


Good Communication


Being open and transparent is a key factor in a healthy group dynamic. Traditionally, management would hold information and delegate specific tasks for employees that go into these tasks blind. Now, effective management will share all relevant information with employees, to empower and motivate them. More and more, employees are having a bigger say in the decision making process, as well. Millennials especially need to feel a purpose to their actions and ensuring clear lines of communication is the first step in making them feel this way.


Need an extra hand with managing your parks and recreation organization? Check out our cloud-based parks & recreation software that helps organizations of all sizes connect with their communities.


What are some of your best management tips, specifically for parks and recreation? Let us know on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your PerfectMind news.



PerfectMind is an industry-leading member management and facility booking software provider. Its robust Platform as a Service (PaaS) serves organizations of all sizes in parks & recreation, health & wellness, fitness, and education sectors. With over 5,000 customers in 21 countries, PerfectMind streamlines business processes so organizations can focus on supporting and growing their communities.

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