To run a successful studio, you need more than charisma and fitness knowledge. Leadership skills are essential to attracting and inspiring the best and brightest instructors. Your leadership style can make or break your studio’s vibe and will impact the number of regular clients coming to your studio. By positioning yourself as a forward-thinking fitness guru who is always one-step ahead of the curve, you will attract flocks of like-minded employees and clients.
LESSON 1: BE A LEADER, NOT A MANAGER
As the studio owner, you can hire a very clever, very qualified person to manage class schedules, facility maintenance, bookkeeping and client relations. But the role of a leader is much more difficult to fill. It is the leader’s job to determine the studio’s brand standards and provide a vision for the employees. As the leader, it’s also important you regularly think about what opportunities your business may want to pursue a year from now or even five years from now. The decisions you make today should be based on your goals for the future, not on getting through the day.
LESSON 2: COMMUNICATE CLEARLY
Whether they tell you this or not, your staff craves clear direction. Even if they don’t agree with your direction — whether it’s about the music played in class or a dress code — they will appreciate having clear expectations. You should also clearly communicate when a staffer is not meeting your expectations. Don’t sugar coat corrective statements as a way to protect an employee’s feelings. By being clear and direct, you are empowering your instructors and support staff with the ability to meet, and exceed, your studio’s standards.
LESSON 3: TRAIN YOURSELF TO NOTICE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE MISS
Good leaders are also good observers. Take note of industry trends and think about how you can develop classes or training to get out ahead of them. Identify instructors and other staff members who have potential and work with them on their professional development. Effective leaders think outside the box and can see where gaps need to be filled in their studio as well as in the fitness industry as a whole.
LESSON 4: SHARE YOUR OWNERSHIP
Most likely, everyone knows you are the boss. But the studio really belongs to the clients and instructors, without whom you wouldn’t have a business. Look to your staff and your clients for ideas and insights. Good leaders understand the value of creating a community. Soliciting and feedback can lead to a better understanding of what needs to be done to improve and generates studio loyalty and a brand following.
LESSON 5: PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
According to an article published by Entrepreneur.com, before the tech genius and Apple CEO Steve Jobs passed away, he stipulated that friends and family who attended his funeral were to receive a gift from him — a copy of the book Autobiography of a Yogi. Jobs is just one of the many business leaders who have turned to yoga and meditation to not only relieve stress, but to achieve the peace of mind that is necessary to become a better leader. Meditating or practicing yoga can help rid your mind of negative thoughts and approach any issues that arise at your studio from a more positive perspective. These practices can also bolster creativity and prevent tunnel vision.
By developing better leadership skills, you will find running the day-to-day operations at your studio less stressful and your valued staffers much happier.