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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Entries in staff engagement (2)


6 Actions Health Club Leaders Take to Develop Emerging Leaders

Identifying and nurturing emerging leaders continues to be a challenge in our industry.  

It’s also one ofif not the most importantchallenges we face. In his IHRSA 2016 session, “Extraordinary Leaders: Develop a High-Performance Team,” Eddie Tock of REX Roundtables said, “research shows that improving leadership behavior has more impact on your company performance than any other investment.”

So, in looking at the leadership traits of many of our industry’s leaders, I’ve distilled those traits into six common actions leaders use to foster leadership in both their own organizations and throughout the industry.

To develop the next generation of industry leaders, current club leaders...  

#1. Lead by Example 

Most everyone replied that leading by example is by far the most important trait. Basically, the leadership traits you want to see in your club staff are the same ones they want to see in you every single day. Any form of leader should be professional, ethical, communicative, supportive, display a high work ethic, and be willing to share knowledge and experiences.  

Jim Worthington, owner and president of Newtown Athletic Club, who is known for “walking the talk” has said that being a leader in the industry has given him the chance to mentor employees as well as colleagues at other clubs.

#2. Are in Perpetual Learning Mode  

According to Leadership Hospitality, it is important for leaders to ‘be visible about their own need to learn. Great leaders are never more powerful than when they are shown to be in a learning mode.’

Our industry’s leaders are some of the best at sharing the fact that they are information and education-hungry. Allison Flatley, CEO of Corporate Fitness Works, has shared that she loves learning growth strategy from successful entrepreneurs and training techniques from experienced personal trainers. And Janine Williams, vice president of human resources at Leisure Sports, said that the most important leadership trait is “to ensure that you continue to expand the depth and breadth of your knowledge; not only in the health club industry but in business and financial acumen as well.”

#3. Cross-train to Develop Across Skills or Knowledge Gaps  

Our industry already understands the value of cross-training to build endurance, flexibility, and skill. The same applies for leadership learning as candidates that are rotated through various jobs gain first-hand experience and new expertise in many different roles. They also develop a broader vision of your club and exposure to staff dynamics and member concerns.

In his IHRSA 2016 presentation, "Developing NextGen Leaders," Brent Gallagher discusses the practical steps involved in establishing a team of next-generation leaders, including the need to train across areas to create a healthy leadership pipeline.

Continue reading "6 Actions Health Club Leaders Take to Develop Emerging Leaders."

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Fitness Brasil Keynote: Happy, Satisfied Employees Lead to Profit

Many leaders preach about the importance of having engaged employees, but Márcio Fernandes, CEO of Elektro, directly correlates happy employees to profit. 

Fernandes’ Innovative ‘Management Philosophy’ 

During his Thursday, September 1 keynote address at the 17th Annual IHRSA / Fitness Brasil Conference & Trade Show, Fernandes explained his “Management Philosophy,” which is based on four principles:  

  1. Believe
  2. Practice
  3. Improve
  4. Share  

“When the people—independent of education degree, position in the company, entrepreneur or traditional employee, young or experienced in life or career—decide to try to do better (especially for their own) and believe (basically in themselves) incredible things happen,” he told IHRSA in an interview conducted in advance of the keynote. 

By practicing good behaviors and making long-term behavior changes, employees can improve their potential, “reflecting directly in the company and people profit,” Fernandes said. “Finally, sharing your best findings with your family, friends, or company, any people can be part of the ‘management philosophy.’” 

Sharing Keeps Employees Engaged 

So, what’s the secret to help employees become engaged and satisfied? Sharing, Fernandez said. 

“Not only for employees, but for any people in the world, the only sustainable way to engage your team, family, friends or anybody else is by sharing,” he said. “Sharing ideas, making the people part of the decision, part of the profits, part of the risk, and, especially, creating and being together into the same proposal.” 

Fernandes’ Advice for Fitness Brasil Attendees 

Asked what advice he’ll be sharing with the audience, Fernandes said, “During 30 years of work and study, I realized the best way to have a happiest life are being humble, listening, interacting, and learning from all the people.” 

Being close to people will lead to credibility, which will lead to trust, “which, for me, is the only important advice to create better solutions, products, and, of course, life conditions,” he said. “Trust is the ‘management philosophy’ key.”