What makes a successful club secretary?

The role of secretary of the committee can be the key to the efficient functioning of the committee. It can be wide and diverse, often tasks that don’t logically fall to other roles within the club fall to the secretary. We are often asked what makes a successful secretary, so here is a list of some of the behaviours and characteristics of successful secretaries.

Very organised and planned

Unquestionably, the first, second and third most important characteristic of successful secretaries is that they are very organised and spend a lot of time planning. Unlike most other roles within the club, the Secretary has to work to deadlines.
So much of a Secretary’s role is date driven and if the dates are missed the consequences can be significant for the club. Examples of key dates could be:

  • Players registration needs to happen by a certain date,
  • Teams entered in respective competitions
  • Sporting and social facilities access applied
  • Venues booked for events such as the AGM

It is not an option to miss these deadlines.

Understands and follows the clubs rules, policies and procedures

Successful Secretaries have a strong understanding of the clubs rules, policies and procedures and use them as the foundation of how they go about their role. Not only that, they ensure that these key governance documents are always up to date and followed by everybody in the club.

A “people person”

The secretary is the first point of contact many people have with the club so they need to be a great people person and have a strong customer service ethos. Generally, a successful Secretary will feel very comfortable picking up the phone and talking to anybody. Whether its the Mayor or Councillor, or an enquiry to join the club.

Willing to develop strong relationships

As the Secretary is the key administrator and organiser of the club, an ability to form new relationships with people very quickly is important. Ideally, these relationships will develop over time to where they become very valuable to the club. What makes a successful secretary is when they have strong relationships with people such as:

  • the Local Council sport and recreation team, local councillors and the mayor
  • sponsors
  • the sports association and potentially the state and national sports association
  • key suppliers
  • committee members
  • OK – really everybody else in the club

Problem and conflict resolver

Often any issues within the club fall to the Secretary to resolve. In many clubs, the Secretary is the nominated Complaints Officer as well. In clubs, the root cause of almost all issues can be traced back to its roots. This could be either a lack of clarity around a given task or a lack of communication between people. An effective Secretary can see through the “noise” to identify the cause of an issue and will resolve the issue quickly and fairly.

Write things down

Even a Secretary of a small club will have way too many tasks to manage in their head. They must write down action lists and due dates. In formal club proceedings like committee meetings and AGMs, this will take the form of Minutes to the Meeting. Successful Secretaries write down everything. Where others have agreed to take on a role, successful secretaries will confirm this via email so there is no confusion.

Have time

A very important attribute to what makes a successful secretary is ensuring they have the time. If they don’t have time to undertake all the tasks of the role then they will create one or more assistant secretary roles to help them.

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