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Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!
Except when it’s not. Whether it’s growing pains in your department, changes in club policy, or just a few instructors having issues, no place of employment can be awesome 100 percent of the time. People are people. They have emotions and reactions to each other, to our members and to management. But when a department, or club, is in turmoil, it’s important to get to the root of the problem and fix it.
Oftentimes issues stem from a change in policy or procedure. It is part of our job as managers to get our team on board with changes by communicating clearly exactly why a policy has been put in place. Sometimes just getting an employee to understand reasons for decisions can make a world of difference. Rules are rules and they need to be enforced by management and followed by employees (including yourself). Communication is key and it’s extremely important to keep everyone informed. While they may not like the new policies or changes, at least there won’t be any surprises.
As managers, we have a hard time realizing that we may be a cause for conflict in our departments. We have to accept that people are different and that at times our instructors’ personalities do clash — even with the boss. Understand that your team may not have the nerve to be so forward as to tell you that you are the issue, which is why it is important to be self-aware, consistently communicating and asking for feedback from your team. If it is you, take a long, hard look at your management style and ask for help from your peers or supervisors. If there is anything I’ve learned in my 43 years on this earth, it’s that I can always learn and always improve.
Sometimes the issue is larger than that and directly affects our member interaction. For example, “Suzy always ends Pilates at 10:05, making it impossible for me to start class on time” or “Jane team teaches with me and always goes off track.” Situations like this call for a meeting not only with the parties involved, but then a follow-up meeting reminding your team of the policies in place.
No matter the issue, communication is key to your department, to your club and to your employees. I am a firm believer that every employee should have a general idea of what is going on in the club, from the general manager to the instructor to the housekeeper. Everyone should be valued and communicated with clearly. The Oxford dictionary defines communication as “a means of connection between people or places, in particular.” Communication connects your team. Without effective communication nothing is awesome.