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How to Foster a Positive Working Environment


Ethan Smoorenburg, a personal trainer and manager at Anytime Fitness in Upper Lafayette, loves working with his team for a variety of reasons. “The main thing that puts a smile on my face when I clock in at 9 a.m. is that I know if I need help with anything they are right there for me,” he said.

So, how can you recreate an environment such as the one at Anytime Fitness Upper Lafayette? Smoorenburg provided a few tips.

  1. Be the example.

“Leaders must be able to hold themselves accountable and hold themselves to an even greater standard than that of what they demand from their team members. Effort is contagious. Be able to show humility and let everybody be on the same level so that each person is respected fairly and there is no sense of entitlement.”

  1. Show that you believe in your product.

“Being excited about what your brand has to offer will make sharing it with others that much more enjoyable. If other team members see that what you do works, then they will apply that success to their own routines, thus eliminating the possibility of a disconnect or lapse in communication.”

  1. Make people laugh.

“We have to be able to humanize ourselves. Showing that you are willing to express humor will allow your team members to open up to you when needed. I love taking the ‘Michael Scott’ approach when the atmosphere gets dry. Call somebody into your office and act serious and end with a punch line that specifically relates to them to brighten their day, even if it isn’t going bad in the first place.”

  1. Communicate everything.

“Make sure that all team members are on point with current systems, specials and possible events. Don’t ever put somebody in a position to fail. If your team knows everything that you know, then customers will be sure to be able to understand that everybody is able to service them all the same. This will create a positive culture within your team and also overall within your facility.”

  1. Be proactive.

“Don’t wait until the last minute to try and correct a mistake. Coach your team up before hand on specific techniques that apply to what is going on in your facility. This will give you the ability to give feedback based on efforts in the future if needed. Your team members will accept feedback in a much more positive tone because they have been coached up and taught rather than having their abilities be assumed.”

  1. Take a break.

“If all of what has previously been mentioned is followed through with, then creating maximum productivity will be consistently amazing. Be able to break away with your team and sit them down just for a brief, relaxed open discussion. Speak about some positive current events or victories inside of the facility. This could actually create the opportunity for an impromptu brainstorming session that ends up being quite enjoyable because of the atmosphere. Herodotus said, ‘If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.’ So have fun.”

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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