Being a fitness studio owner is not only about guiding members through workouts and giving nutrition advice. It also involves leadership staff, developing skills, and providing ongoing professional development. However, just like any leadership position, gym owners can make important mistakes that hinder the success of their team. In this blog, we will explore the 5 MOST COMMON mistakes gym owners make in leadership roles and discuss how to avoid them.
- Poor Communication
One of the most significant mistakes fitness studio owners make is poor communication with their team. Clear and concise communication is vital for setting expectations, delegating tasks, and providing feedback. Signs your leadership communication could improve include high staff turnover, low member retention, low staff work ethic, and an overall lack of motivation on the gym floor among team members. To avoid this, gym owners should establish open lines of communication using WhatsApp or a premium fitness CRM like XODA, meet weekly for a 30-minute full team meeting to share their vision for the business and discussion, ask staff for feedback on a regular basis and ensure that everyone understands their unique roles and responsibilities.
- No Delegation
Many gym owners work 60+ hours a week due to a lack of delegation. They work 6-7 days a week trying to handle everything themselves, not only preventing the gym from helping more members but also stunting cash flow and business success. Some owners fear staff will NOT perform tasks to the same high standard they do, so they never give staff a chance. Other owners can remember a bad experience delegating something in the past, so now live by the false narrative that “if you want something done right, you need to do it yourself” working themselves to exhaustion and skipping quality time with friends and family.
THE GOOD NEWS is that delegation is just a skill – so everyone can learn it. Effective delegation involves
- giving staff roles that align with their natural strengths
- providing clear instructions and KPI’s
- demonstrating what you mean
- letting them do it by themselves
- checking in weekly for support and further development.
Delegation empowers team members and allows the gym owner to focus on higher-level responsibilities like recruitment, marketing, and team alignment. Effective delegation allows me to work just 1 day per week in my gym.
- Inadequate Training and Development:
Gym owners usually invest in their own professional development to learn Digital Marketing skills or how to sell higher-priced memberships but often overlook the importance of investing in the growth of their team members. Leaders should take the time to understand their team members’ individual aspirations and skill gaps and then provide opportunities for them to learn and advance each quarter. This can include workshops, certifications, mentorship programs, or skill-building exercises. For example – as a team we did Kelly Starretts ‘ready state’ mobility app, we did kettlebell accreditation, we did core stability training with a physiotherapist, we had an NLP coach and we also did breathwork and ice baths.
- Lack of Recognition
Leadership roles come with the responsibility of motivating and inspiring team members. Unfortunately, some gym owners forget to recognize and appreciate the hard work and dedication of their team. Failing to acknowledge progress can demotivate even the best employees and create a negative work environment. Fitness leaders should regularly recognize and appreciate their team members’ efforts in team meetings, on the gym floor, at client events, and on social media. Celebrating milestones and providing constructive feedback can help create a positive and supportive work culture.
- Failure to Adapt and Innovate
In a rapidly evolving fitness industry, leaders must stay ahead of the curve and adapt to changing trends and technologies. Some fitness professionals become complacent, relying on outdated methods and resisting innovation. However, this can hinder the growth of their facility and team. Effective leaders stay informed about industry advancements like ChatGPT, embrace new technologies like XODA fitness CRM, and encourage their team members to think creatively when posting on social media or asking for referrals. By fostering an environment of innovation, leaders can ensure their organization remains competitive and relevant.
Leadership roles within the fitness industry require more than just expertise in exercise and nutrition. Avoiding common mistakes, such as neglecting communication, failing to delegate, inadequate training, lack of recognition, and resisting innovation, is crucial for fitness professionals in leadership positions. By recognizing and addressing these mistakes, fitness leaders can foster a positive and productive work environment, empower their team members, and drive the success of their facility. Remember, leadership is a continual learning process, and with dedication and self-awareness, fitness professionals can excel in their roles as effective leaders.