Ask Thad: How to accept being just an employee, not always right

By |  September 9, 2021 0 Comments
(Graphic: Golfdom Staff)

(Graphic: Golfdom Staff)

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Have you mentored a staff member with additional needs like learning difficulties? How open are job candidates to mentioning this upfront? What additional support can be put in place for inclusion?

— Theresa W., South East, England

I’ve had several staff members with learning difficulties over the years. An honest and open two-way communication is the way to go. You need to concisely explain your expectations and allow their feedback. Most job candidates don’t seem to be very open about any learning disabilities, but that is why I always do an in-person job interview. A resumé or a job application can only tell you so much. I enjoy asking off-the-wall questions like, “Do you get along with your parents?” or “Have you ever been in a fight? Why?” I generally get good, honest answers.

As far as inclusion is concerned, during the summer, I am around my crew more than I am around my family. I always like to mix up who is working with whom. I’m not a huge fan of cliques within my staff. We all work hard, but everyone, I hope, knows that I value them as friends, human beings and individuals.


Longtime super at a nice club. Got in trouble for something I still don’t think is valid. Even cost me money. I don’t have that many working years left. I bit my lip and kept my head down. Did I do the right thing? I’m still mad about it.
— Anonymous.

As superintendents, we are the most passionate employees at the golf course. We probably know more about our property and jobs than other employees. We are educators of owners, greens committees and board members. We are almost always right. BUT we are employees with a job who answer to owners, greens committees and board members. I am as opinionated a superintendent as you’ll find, and I can become quite passionate about my job and I know I’m right.

But, at the end of the day, I’m an employee. This was a lot harder to accept when I was younger but after 33 years, I let a lot slide right off my back. I’ve had my wars over the years, I’ve been the outspoken one during board meetings, and I’ve convinced different owners that I was right (after the proven results of course). I have yet to have a battle that I was willing to lose my job over. I’d rather bite my tongue now and then and have the career I love than be right and unemployed.

This is posted in Ask Thad, Columns, From the Magazine, People

About the Author: Thad Thompson

Thad Thompson is the superintendent at Terry Hills GC in Batavia, N.Y.

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