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Does Your Club Culture Cultivate Leadership?

club culture

Lynne Brick, the president of Planet Fitness Growth Partners and co-founder of Brick Bodies and the John W Brick Mental Health Foundation, shares tips for ensuring your club culture is cultivating leadership. 

Needless to say, the past 24 months have been challenging, requiring fluid leadership. As University of California, Los Angeles’ legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, “Tough times don’t build character, they reveal it.” Any in-club leader knows and understands this firsthand. A leader’s willingness to shift, adapt and adopt out-of-the-box thoughts, beliefs and actions have become necessary to lead their team to greatness — especially as a health club leader.

According to motivational speaker Brian Tracy, “Great leaders find the balance between business foresight, performance and character. They have vision, courage, integrity, humility and focus, along with the ability to plan strategically and catalyze cooperation among their team.”

I asked the leaders of our teams — as well as a few other CEOs and COOs — the traits they look for when interviewing candidates to be great in-club leaders. Here’s a compilation of their top answers:

  1. First and foremost, they focus on hiring people who believe what the company believes in terms of vision, core values and core purpose.

  2. A servant leader is someone who cultivates a culture of trust and values diverse opinions. They think of others first. They lead by example. They have a teachable spirit and look to learn from those they supervise and elevate those with whom they work.

  3. Integrity, according to Simon Sinek, “is when our words and deeds are consistent with our intentions.” A leader is honest, trustworthy and has strong moral principles. They are ethical and civic minded. They are willing to take the path that is more challenging. A leader with integrity makes decisions based on what’s best and what’s right. They hold others accountable to a similar standard and create a foundation of trust to build and craft a strong working culture. 

  4. Communication. Great leaders either create and/or share the vision of the company culture and communicate that vision among those they supervise. Communication is mindful with intention, emotionally intelligent with purpose and consistently executed ideally via face-to-face contact — or the most effective means to connect with their supervisors and their team. Remember the 7-38-55 Rule of communication: 7% of what is communicated is merely the words said; 38% is how those words are said; and speaking louder than the former two is body language at 55%.

  5. Innovative and creative. In-club leaders embrace the concept of “kaizen” — constant never-ending improvement via baby steps — and are always searching for better ways to execute the in-club experience for their members as well as their team. They pro-actively take the initiative to rally their team to contribute great ideas, many of which become standard operating procedures.

  6. Humility. As Patrick Lencioni explains in “The Ideal Team Player,” be humble. Be hungry. Be smart. A humble leader can admit when they are wrong or short sighted. They are vulnerable and lack arrogance as they convey confidence in a manner to show they care.

  7. Self-awareness and personal development. We cannot expect our team players to grow and develop unless their leader is focused on their personal growth and development. Great leaders are self-aware and recognize where they should improve to better lead their team.

  8. Empathy. Utilizing active listening skills, a great leader is empathetic while hearing and understanding another person’s perspective. 

  9. Conflict resolution skills. A leader is calm and poised under pressure and able to focus without folding. A great leader facilitates problem solving solutions during adversity, creating win/win situations for everyone.

  10.  Happiness. Great leaders are genuinely happy optimistic people with a sense of humor.

How do supervisors assess their leaders on-going to assure they chose the “right leader for the right seat of the bus?” Supervisors of leaders practice “genchi genbutsu,” which is Japanese for “go and see for yourself.” They witness first-hand each leader’s effectiveness and inspect what they expect. A monthly KPI scorecard is assessed by supervisors as the numbers speak for themselves when a leader is doing a great job. Plus, other areas are taken into consideration such as staff turnover, 360 manager evaluations, MXM powered by Medallia feedback and Listen360 feedback. Monthly personal development and in-house leadership training webinars can be tracked through Paycom or Planet Fitness University, which also offers opportunity for in-depth coaching. Alternating who leads monthly huddles or meetings also provides a golden opportunity to witness leaders in action.

 According to Simon Sinek, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, you are a leader.” How does your club stack up? Does your club culture cultivate great leadership?

Lynne Brick

Lynne Brick is the president of Planet Fitness Growth Partners and co-founder of Brick Bodies and the John W Brick Mental Health Foundation.

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