Never stop learning. That’s what it takes to be a great leader, and a great association manager. If it worked for former President John F. Kennedy, it just might work for you, too.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other,” the 35th president said.
So, how can you be a better leader in 2019? Lend your expertise and insights in the following 10 areas to boost staff productivity and engage more members on behalf of your association.
How to Become a Master Association Manager in 2019
1 – Event Consultant
A great event is a critical component of member engagement. Don’t let your major meetings pass by without offering to give your personal touch. Maybe offer suggestions from events you attended the previous year that can be adapted to suit your association.
Your events team may have everything handled, but an extra pair of hands is often helpful.
Bonus Tip: Be sure your team has perfected the meeting registration process. Registration monitoring is easy with top-tier association management software, but that doesn’t mean every association has expedited its registration process properly.
2 – Change Champion
Change is challenging. Whether it’s your association staff or systems that are changing, your team has to be able to adapt on the fly. Be the champion your team needs to guide them through the process and ensure the necessary buy in from each staff member at every turn.
3 – Industry Innovator
At any moment, your association should serve as a key thought leader in your respective industry. If you’re not, it’ll be harder for members to take you seriously.
Try to be an innovator in the overall association space, too. Find cool event apps, email marketing platforms or online communities to excite members and get them talking about your association. The latest and greatest tech helps keep members most engaged.
4 – A Go-to Resource
This skill can be summarized in three parts:
- Learn your staff’s best skills and abilities
- Find out which tools they use and become adept at as many as possible
- Help your team through any stucks or problems they encounter
5 –Automation Authority
If your association isn’t using automated email campaigns, you’re not maximizing your member outreach. No automated invoicing? That’s a lot of man hours that could be better used elsewhere.
There’s always the fear that you might go too far and start to clog member inboxes or miss a membership bill, but marketing automation and automated workflows are fabulous tools to ease that concern and improve productivity. Strategically planning your automation will save your team time by eliminating mundane tasks and making sure members receive the right information when they need it.
6 – Strong Listener
Each member of your team is an expert in their own area. Listen to your staff’s needs. Don’t just make them feel heard — hear them. Then, implement changes where appropriate to make their jobs easier.
7 – Terrific Teacher
After all that listening, build your team up with the confidence they need to succeed. Something as simple as a sincere, “Thank you,” to your team for their efforts will go a long way.
Of all the association management skills included in this list, this one will always be relevant.
8 – Data Specialist
In the world of GDPR, every association executive must have a firm grasp on data security and data privacy. Be sure to gain access to actionable reports and analytics, so you can better understand member behavior.
Why are members joining? Which category of members is most likely to attend your next event? What will your membership base look like in 10 years? These are all questions you can answer quickly with interactive dashboards located in your association management software.
9 – Pivot Pro
Much like the “Change Champion,” the pivot pro must be ready to shift gears quickly.
What does that mean? Follow your members; don’t make them follow you. Protech Associates’ Will Slade covered this recently on AssociationsNow.com.
If you pivot toward their preferences, and do what they want from your association with a willingness to change at a moment’s notice, they will recognize the value that you provide to them and be more loyal to your organization.
10 – Creative Visionary
One lesson that stood out when interviewing thought leaders for our recent e-book: always be innovative.
Constantly seek new approaches to member engagement and retention so you never fall behind. If you do fall, it can be very difficult to catch back up, leading to a loss in credibility and interest from current and future members.
Final Thoughts: Be the Best Association Manager You Can in 2019
We know association executives are go-getters. They are the type of people who are always working harder and smarter. With these 10 skillsets, we’re sure you’ll be learning and leading to the best of your abilities in 2019!
Looking for more association answers? Sign up for our monthly newsletter today — it’s free!