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6 Ways to Be a Leader in the Health Club Industry

Being a leader is more than just owning a successful business. Meredith Poppler offers her thoughts on what people can do to become industry leaders.

When I was interviewed by Chantal Broderick for a short segment on leadership for the Fitness Business Podcast, she asked for a quick tip or two on what people can do to become leaders in the industry.

I quickly gave Chantal a couple ideas and have been thinking about additional steps to industry leadership ever since. Therefore, my more complete response is the following:

1. Walk the Talk

To be a leader you must lead by example.

2. Always be in Learning Mode

What we refer to as a lifelong-learner—and you should show others your hunger for learning. (That’s why you see so many Industry Leaders sitting in the front rows furiously taking notes during IHRSA keynotes.)

“You might be the world’s best club operator, but if you don’t let anyone know about your super successful community outreach campaign or 10,000 lb. weight loss challenge, it’s like a tree falling in the forest.”

3. Generously Share Knowledge

This obviously means sharing knowledge directly, by mentoring an up-and-comer in your club. But it also means putting yourself out there and giving back to the industry.

One of the best ways to do this is by speaking at an IHRSA event. We’re always looking to book speakers for the IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show, as well as events and webinars. You can apply to speak online. Or, if you have a message or something to teach, perhaps you should start an industry-related blog or drop some knowledge-bombs on LinkedIn. The IHRSA Group on LinkedIn welcomes compelling useful content.

4. Share Your Successes

You might be the world’s best club operator, but if you don’t let anyone know about your super successful community outreach campaign or 10,000 lb. weight loss challenge, it’s like a tree falling in the forest. IHRSA members are invited to email news releases about successes and events. And, if you’re a health promotion pro, tell IHRSA’s health promotion team.

5. Network

Again, this means putting yourself out there. You should do everything in your power to attend the IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show as well as other industry events. And if you’re serious about being an industry leader, one of the best networking opportunities during the IHRSA convention is The ILC Experience, a series of networking and leadership events created to thank Industry Leadership Council members.

Through the ILC Experience, ILC Members are invited to take part in conversations with keynote speakers in the comfort of the Industry Leaders Club, which provides the perfect space to relax, refuel, network, and hold meetings. Of course, whether you attend industry events or not, you should also utilize social media. Trust me, it’s for much more than cat videos. IHRSA provides social networks via LinkedIn, Facebook, and the Women’s Leadership Facebook Group.

6. Advocate for the Industry!

Industry leaders are not only expected to be innovative and strategic thinkers with great motivational and communication skills, but these leaders are also often expected to be industry representatives who advocate at the local, state, and national levels and inspire their staff, members, and communities to do the same.

Author avatar

Meredith Poppler @PopplerMeredith

As IHRSA's Vice President of Communications and Leadership Engagement, Meredith works to grow, promote, and protect the global fitness industry through media, policy, and advocacy. Meredith seeks to raise awareness of and funding for important policy issues affecting the fitness industry, while encouraging leadership, engagement and collaboration. When not protecting or promoting the fitness industry, she is either playing tennis or trying to get her stubborn 5-year-old English Bulldog to take a walk.