7 Top Tips on Being a Multi-Dimensional Club Manager

7 Top Tips on Being a Multi-Dimensional Club Manager

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7 Top Tips on Being a Multi-Dimensional Club Manager

By Justin Ashley

Many of us will remember the days when many gyms would have a club manager, sales manager, personal training manager, group fitness manager, admin manager, customer care manager, reception manager and creche manager. With advances in technology, increased competition, smaller clubs and tighter margins this top-heavy structure is now streamlined. The modern-day club manager has come full circle and once again needs to fulfill most, or in some cases all, of these roles.

As a club manager who moved directly from a big-box model - where I had seven heads of department - to a budget model where I had none, I know first hand what it is like and the challenges you face.

My advice: dive in. Do it all. Don’t expect to be the best at everything but do expect to be involved in everything. Cherish it. It’s dynamic, interesting and fun. The multi-dimensional role is club management at its core; a return to its roots. In my view, it’s the way it should be.


What skills does a multi-dimensional general manager need to succeed?

To start with, a club manager needs presence, communication, relationships, ownership, respect and confidence in order to excel. The majority of these are not skills, they are attributes, and it is these attributes that transfer across not only all departments in the fitness industry but
any leadership role in any industry.

The best multidimensional club managers are not managers at all, they are leaders. A leader is not concerned with whether it is admin, sales, customer service or PT. A leader is intensely focused on the success of their people and ensuring that the ship they are sailing is heading in the right direction and everyone is on board.

They do not see ‘different departments’, they see and foster a team that works together toward two common goals: helping members achieve their goals and growing the member base. They believe that all staff are responsible for this and that they are ultimately the gel that holds the team together.

Leaders take ownership in the club as if it is their own: picking up weights, greeting people at reception, selling memberships and assisting members on the floor all before most of their staff start their day. They may not be the best at any of those
tasks, but it doesn’t matter – what matters is they do them.

How does a club manager who has come from the sales side manage a PT or reception team, or an admin person?

It’s all about relationships and adding value. Leaders need to play to their strengths. Let’s take sales people for example: they’re usually incredibly results-focused and like things done quickly. Admin people, on the other hand, are process focused
and often like things done accurately, irrespective of time.

It is likely that the sales person is not good at admin and the admin person dislikes sales, possibly even sales people. They are often both great at their job and experienced at what they do, so how could the ‘sales guy’ possibly help the admin manager?


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