The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



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13 Ingredients for Great Health Club Leadership from IHRSA's Board Chair

I’m often reminded that providing leadership isn’t a simple or an easy thing. Yet, it’s such a rewarding experience—one well worth the effort!

A few of the ingredients for great leadership that I’ve learned about include:

1. Be an eternal student both of our own industry and of others around us. Never stop learning, and growing, and waking up each day filled with passion and excitement. It’s contagious!

2. Visionary thinking/brokering ideas: View the organization not just as it is today, but also as it needs to be in the future. Foster a culture of speaking up, as well as of listening intently, to facilitate this approach.

3. Commit to doing what’s best for the organization, even if it’s currently unpopular. “Start with why,” share information, and be strategic to help others come to their own conclusions faster. 

4. See opportunities where others may see obstacles or nothing at all. Seek out reliable information to anticipate trends, remain connected, and stay ahead of the curve.

5. Call upon truth as well as your intuition. When great leaders recognize a fundamental truth about a business, a market, or emerging trends, they don’t bury their head in the sand. They dive into the tide of truth, trusting to their heart and gut.

6. Understand that you never arrive. Constantly seek ways to improve. And celebrate the victories, big and small, along the way.

7. Balance “must dos” with “thank yous.” Never lose sight of the fact that ours is a business of people serving people. It takes a village to do so well.

8. Embrace, engage, and enchant the human spirit of those around you to produce a culture that personifies what it means to be a “club.”

9. Learn from failures, and regard them as life’s greatest teachers. Encourage your team to be alert to the lessons and insights they offer.

10. Keep your house in order, literally and figuratively. Pick up the towels and put the weights away—even when no one’s watching.

11. Steering: A flock of birds doesn’t follow the lead bird’s squawk. They follow the direction the lead bird sets. That said: Be an eagle, not a turkey. Strive for excellence, and demonstrate what excellence looks like.

12. Take the time to develop and empower those members of your team who are most likely to become great leaders. This represents the best possible investment of your time and effort.

13. Satisfaction is very different from complacency—know the difference. Know what to hold on to, and what to let go of, in order to make room for something better.

Reader Comments (1)

Incredible article from an incredible individual. I can attest to the fact that Molly Kemmer embodies each of these bullet points daily. Thank you for the words of wisdom, as always.

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