Swinging The Lead in Your Sphere of Influence
In entrepreneurship, business ownership, and in fitness management, leadership is what you bring to the gym as a founder or manager. It is the one factor over which you have the most control and which makes it possible for small startup gym business owners to fight their way into crowded fitness club markets. As I haven’t written much about leadership lately, I think it’s time to share my thoughts on the subject once again.
Leadership is the interpersonal skill that you exert to influence other people to work with you and do what needs to be done. Working alone, you can only do so much to build a business and establish a fitness practice. If you can convince others to do things for you, it is like you have multiplied your presence.
Leading People Who Care
You will have to lead in many situations as a gym business owner. Your followers are likely to be smart and highly motivated. Since they already have a stake in your success, leading them requires a counterintuitive approach.
If you can lead others to action, you become a legion, much more potent than any single person can ever be. The extent to which you can reach out and do things through the willing actions of others is what defines your sphere of influence. The people, over whom you have this influence, fall into five constituencies:
- Gym members
- Suppliers and vendors
- Investors and lenders
Your fitness club staff members – This might seem like the most visible group. As the person who signs the paychecks, you have perhaps the most power over your employees and trainers. However, in a people-oriented business like fitness, these people are going to be much more willing to work with you if they feel empowered by doing so. It is the ability to motivate your staff to act with enthusiasm.
Gym members – Your club members come to you with the hope of fulfilling dreams of strength and beauty. Unlike employees, they don’t feel compelled to be at your gym every day. Obviously, there’s a spectrum of motivation levels among your faithful, but it is often the members who need you the most who do the least. Your leadership skills are the simple abilities that motivate people to commit to the program and stick with it.
Your family and friends – How do your people feel about your venture into the world of fitness business ownership? They may be your stalwart supporters, but they might secretly worry about what you’re working to achieve. By founding a business, you have dared to be exceptional. Take the time to talk to friends and family members, to listen to them and lead them.
Suppliers and vendors – Small businesses that support you and the vendor representatives are worth the effort to lead. When you demonstrate your leadership skills, your contacts will have the confidence to trust you and extend credit when you need it most.
Investors – The ability to cultivate investors is one that will take you far in business. How you handle communicating with them transcends any single business project; as long as investors understand that you act in good faith and stay in touch, they will forgive failures. Funders invest in founders more than the ideas that they pitch.
The Servant Mindset in Leadership
If you develop the leadership skills to build your business by leading all of the people around you, it’s certainly possible for you to extend your leadership further. As long as you understand your role as a leader in these relationships, you can become increasingly powerful and influential in your community.
The way you lead in this way isn’t through command and ordering people around. In fact, you lead in such a way that you become the servant. In the theory of Servant Leadership, you help others do the things that they want to do while showing respect for their power and abilities. Earl Greenleaf put into words the very subtle details of what successful fitness business founders and owners know instinctively.
As a small business owner, the people who come into your sphere of influence are strong and independent. You aren’t likely to get anywhere by ordering them around. However, if you can inspire and motivate them by positive methods such as servant leadership you can achieve the kind of success that goes far beyond your fitness business startup. Mastering the tools of leadership by owning or managing a small gym business will give you contacts and confidence than most people never find.
Fagan, Lawrence. Gym Owner Leadership Approaches Reviewed. August 22, 2016. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3885-gym-owner-leadership-approaches-reviewed/ (accessed September 28, 2018).
Greenleaf, Earl. The Servant And The Lion. June 13, 2018. https://www.greenleaf.org/the-servant-and-the-lion/ (accessed September 28, 2018).
Jordon, Trisha. Counterintuitive Leadership. August 31, 2018. https://clubsolutionsmagazine.com/2018/08/counterintuitive-leadership/ (accessed September 28, 2018).