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In Print The Essentials

Counterintuitive Leadership


Have you ever found yourself frustrated as a leader trying to get things done? Have you ever asked yourself or your leadership team, “Why won’t they just do what they are told?” Or, “Why did they do that?”

With over 90 employees, we at Tampa Fitness Partners/Orangetheory Fitness West Florida ask these questions often. What we have discovered is that leadership is often counterintuitive. Through many years of trial and error, we are still honing our leadership skills, but we have learned that sometimes doing the opposite of what is expected or the opposite of your first instinct can often be the right strategy.

For example, we often inject fun and positivity into a scenario where we may be behind on sales and staff is expecting intense pressure or even negative pressure. We get silly and plan out ways to make the expected daily tasks more fun and enjoyable. If you have hired the right people, given them the tools they need and motivate them properly, then they know when they are not meeting standards. We find by switching up the ways the standards are delivered, more often than not this leaves them not wanting to disappoint.

What staff definitely do not want or need is their supervisors pointing out the obvious. What they need to know is that their supervisors trust them and want to be a part of their solutions to the problem. This relationship is built on trust gathered by leadership proving time and time again that people are more important than processes or outcomes.

When you feel like pushing or pulling your hair out, consider getting on “one of the oars” and pulling with your team. When you want more control, set your team free to be creative and perform.

When you find yourself most frustrated, and believe us your team knows, take a deep breath and offer a fun contest or a fun day outing to reduce the tension — thereby allowing you to lead more effectively. This will also reduce your team’s stress and multiply their productivity.


Trisha Jordan is in charge of regional support for Tampa Fitness Partners/Orangetheory Fitness West Florida.


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