Drama, Drama, Drama
It seems as if we are always dealing with the “Drama of Group Fitness.” The thread of competition in our industry is great; who sells the most memberships, who is employee of the month, who has the most personal training clients, who sold the most PT, etc. But for some reason when it come to group fitness it is a “scratch you eyes out” department. Let’s just say that, in many clubs, Group X = drama. If I had a dime for the amount of calls and inquiries I receive about how to handle problems with instructors in group fitness departments I would be quite rich, and this very topic is many times a large portion of my lectures with tons of questions about tough situations that need to be handled in one’s club. Below I will give you some tips to stop the drama but let me ask you this first because much of the problem may come from leadership — do you, as a leader/manager, acknowledge every single one of your group fitness instructors and thank them for their time and commitment to your club?
A lot of the group fitness drama comes from your instructors who simply don’t feel loved. 97 percent of all Group X instructors are female and on the planet Venus, it’s about the love. A packed class and a lot of love keep your instructors happy. So how do we stop the chatter and drama?
1. Set up a mentoring system where your older, more popular instructors become a big sister/big brother to the newer less experienced instructors.
2. Set the state of your department immediately and put in place the “no drama” requirement clause in the instructor guidelines or offer letter that they must sign. If an instructor creates drama, they will have signed a document stating that it will not be tolerated. If one wants to teach at your club there will be “no drama.” Put this in place ASAP.
3. Never be held hostage to one instructor. You know — the person that teaches the one class that is super popular and no one else teaches it. This is a death wish, truly. If there is only one instructor that teaches a format get it off your schedule ASAP.
4. Make sure that your director is not the problem. Many times the leader of the team is the biggest problem of all. Stay aware of what is going on in your department. Observe how instructors are being managed and treated and how they treat one another.
5. Make sure every instructor is treated equally. Ensure that your pay scale policies are consistent and pay increase systems are in place. Upon hiring an instructor make sure that they are aware of the policies.
6. Leave a thank-you note on the stereo for your instructor with a Power Bar or treat. Do this quarterly or semi annually and make sure everyone gets the same treatment.
7. Mediate gossip and nonsense issues immediately. Jealousy is a crazy emotion. Try to temper issues quickly and professionally.
Think about how packed your classes would be if the instructor would stop focusing on drama and start focusing on the members and packing their class.
Encourage instructors to shift their thinking.
Lori Lowell is the President of Group Fitness Solutions, LLC, and owns 8 Fitness Facilities in Virginia and Wisconsin. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.