Working as an athletic director means being a leader. When you work with people in a leadership role, you need to have certain skills to do the job well. Some of these skills can be learned, others are innate, but all can be improved through training. Here are the skills that ArbiterSports has found make an athletic director successful.

People Skills in All Situations

Athletic organizers see a lot of different people in their job, and not always in the same situations. Depending upon the situation, you might be talking to athletes, agents or scouts, coaches, the media, and medical professionals. Whether the setting is formal or informal, whether you’re comfortable or not, and whether you’re in a group or speaking individually, you need to be able to move between social situations effortlessly.


Being able to communicate with others is an important part of having people skills. You need to be able to not only talk to the people you work with, but also be able to listen and ensure everyone understands the information that is being shared. Don’t underestimate the importance of written communication, either, contracts are written in legalese, so it’s important to understand how things are written.


Talking to people isn’t the only part of people skills. Athletic directors and referees must work in teams just as much as athletes do, and as a leader, your job is to help make sure your team plays like one. Whether you’re working with coaches, trainers, or sponsors, your goal is always to make sure that you get the absolute best performance out of the athletes you support.

Decision-Making Skills

Referees must make and stick with a lot of tough decisions in their jobs. This requires being aware of the sides of an unfolding situation and being able to make a choice quickly. Athletic officials are leaders in visible roles, and all their decisions will be judged. Make sure you are confident in yours.

Organizational Skills

Anything in the athletic field requires that you to multitask. Being an athletic organizer involves managing calendars and records for multiple clients as well as planning things in advance. It’s important to make sure you use your time well not just for your sake, but for the sake of everyone that relies on you and deserves your very best performance.

A Strong Moral Code

Values are important to have, especially in the sports world. Being committed to your career requires a strong commitment to your ethical values. Athletic officials can be subject to a great deal of temptation, and not everyone can make appropriate judgment calls. Make sure you stick to what’s right for the sake of your sport and your career.

ArbiterSports Solutions for Athletic Directors

As an athletic director, your to-do list is never-ending and there are a lot of people relying on you. It takes a special kind of person to do your job, and few things can replace developing certain job skills over time. What can help you focus on what really matters, though, is having organizational support tools at your disposal.

Whether you’re looking for a way to manage payday, your entire athletics program, need help with scheduling and game day preparation, or if you’re seeking referee training, ArbiterSports has the tools or combination of tools that can work for you. ArbiterSports has a solutions package tailored specifically to schools as well, helping you save countless hours on tasks like pre-participation registration, scheduling and payments. It’s all done electronically, saving you time and keeping you in compliance. For more information on the athletic management tools we provide, or to try a demo of any of our products, call 800.576.2799 or email