How to Be a Better Leader in 2021

Picture of Anastasia Bennett with title text.

Mike (00:02):

You’re not really a gym owner. You’re a leader who happens to own a gym. Today on Two-Brain Radio, we’ll tell you how to be a communicative captain.

Chris (00:09):

Before we continue, I’d like to mention that this episode of Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Wodify. Wodify is an all in one solution for member management, appointment scheduling and tracking. Wodify’s insights tool includes the business health dashboard co-developed with Two-Brain to provide average revenue per member, length of engagement and more key metrics. Gym owners, to receive 20% off your first year of Wodify Core visit

Mike (00:36):

This is Two-Brain Radio, and I’m your host Mike Warkentin. Today we’re talking leadership and communication with Anastasia Bennett of WOF Strength and Conditioning in New Zealand. She’s also a certified mentor. All right, Anastasia Bennett. Welcome to the show all the way from New Zealand. How are you today?

Anastasia (00:52):

Good. Thanks for having me here today.

Mike (00:55):

I appreciate you making the time for us, and I’m really excited to talk leadership with you because it’s such a tough thing for gym owners to master. So I’ll get right into it. I’ll ask you right away. What are the most important characteristics of a leader and why are they important in the fitness industry in particular?

Anastasia (01:10):

Yeah, that’s a common question that everyone asks, what are the, you know, what are the characteristics? And I think, I’ll just go from my experience of what I think is the top five.

Anastasia (01:26):

So I think the first one is ability to have a clarity. I think good leaders have very clear vision, right? So they know what their mission is. They know what their value is, and you know, how it’s important to their business. And also they use their values as a decision-making tool to get them closer to their vision. So I think good leaders also are great communicators and they’re able to explain their vision to their team and their team able to understand it because you know, like so many leaders have their vision, but they keep it to themselves.

Mike (02:03):

Chris has talked about that so many times on the blog and you’re exactly right where you need to have a vision and we help our mentees in Two-Brain find that vision. And then you have to communicate it over and over and over again. It’s not enough just to say it once, right. You have to keep explaining it. And if you don’t, people don’t remember it.

Anastasia (02:19):

Exactly. Exactly. And I always say, if you’re able to explain to your five-year-old, then you’re on the right track. It has to be so simple that your five-year-old will understand what it is.

Mike (02:31):

And the cool thing that is gym owners will know, and they’ll know when their vision is taking hold when they hear people around them in their gym actually repeating it back to them, without them having to tell them. Right. And that’s a really cool thing where you see gym owners have really done this amazing job and all of a sudden the vision permeates their entire business. Have you had any of your mentees check off that square on the Growth ToolKit yet?

Anastasia (02:53):

Yes. Yes. It’s really cool. And I always work with my mentees on the Growth ToolKit because I feel like it’s such an amazing tool. It’s like a game that, you know, you can look forward to and you can tick the boxes and you can achieve something, it’s like a ticking off the list, you know, your to-do list. So, and back to that clarity, we all know that, you know, there’s lots of the people that know where they want to be. But very few know how to get there and good leaders have a plan, they know how to get there. And they are able to explain that to their staff, you know, they’ll help them to get there. Yeah. The second one that I think is quite important is be able to build a relationship on trust. And we know, you know, the business that’s built on trust will be more profitable as well. And it’s create great culture. And it’s also business strategy because it can positively effect operating costs, staff retention, staff engagement, and of course, performance outcome.

Mike (03:59):

And trust isn’t something that you can just like snap your fingers and it appears, right. That’s a long-term thing. So when you talked about, you know, clear communication, it’s also that consistency where your staff and your clients know what you’re all about and they know what they’re getting all the time. So it’s not like, Oh, the coach is having a bad day or the owner’s having a bad day. They know that there’s a level of consistency to things. And that’s kind of how you build trust or are there other ways that you would suggest owners can build trust?

Anastasia (04:25):

No, definitely. Definitely. Trust is like a two-way street. So the more you trust your staff, the more they will trust you and they will trust the way that you run your business. So like, if you trust us it, sorry, if your staff doesn’t trust you, they will struggle with understanding your decisions. And they also will struggle with the team culture and other way around, if they trust you, then they’ll work harder decisions, they’re loyal they have your back. So everything works really well. And then this leads into the next one is, you know, consistency. Good leaders, they’re consistent and they’re committed to, you know, to their goals. So like they make their mind, they take the risk. They’re also not scared to get their hands dirty and lead by example. So, meaning that, you know, if I ask you to do something, you know, that I can and I will do it myself. So, you know, it’s like being a good role model as well to your staff. So that’s how you build the trust.

Mike (05:26):

And that’s interesting because there’s a tough aspect of that. Where, you know, as, as we level up as entrepreneurs, we know that we need the bathrooms cleaned, but we shouldn’t clean them ourselves because it’s not a good use of our time. And I struggle with that personally, where I wanted my gym, you know, my staff to know that, yeah, I would plunge that toilet and I would scrub that floor, but eventually I needed to offload that job. So it’s really creating that culture of leadership where you tell staff members why their job is important. And Chris has talked about this many times in the blog, your leaders need to tell their staff why they’re doing what they’re doing. So when Chris goes for a two-hour bike ride, it looks like he’s just playing, but he’s actually thinking and recharging so that he can be a better CEO. So this is just amazing intricacies to like that leadership aspect.

Anastasia (06:08):

Yeah, exactly. But yes, you have to offload those certain things. But if I walked into my gym and yes, I know a cleaner has been there yesterday, but suddenly a bathroom is missing toilet paper and I’ll do it, you know, and I just can see, or other staff can see that I’ve done it. And like, she’s doing it, I should be doing it. It’s like, I always say, I mainly say it about my kids, but monkey see monkey do. Right. You know, they see you doing it and then will start automatically doing it as well, because that’s part of the culture because that’s what you do, you know? Cause you lead by example, you are a role model. And you’re consistent. Yeah. The next one is I think good leaders have courage and ability to make decisions.

Anastasia (06:56):

So we know the leader needs massive mental horsepower to process information, but also need to have a right personality and confidence to trust in their own decisions and follow through. So if you said you’re going to do something and you like, for example, big topic, always, to increase prices, right? You decide you’re going to increase prices. You spoke to your team, you’re gonna increase prices. And then you announced you’re increasing prices and people complain. Good leaders will stick to their decision. Right. They’ll find a way to communicate and explain why instead of backing out and go, Oh, it’s too hard. People are not happy, whatever. So that’s, you know, the good leaders need to have the courage to take a risk.

Mike (07:45):

Yeah. And making decisions is it sounds so simple, but it’s so hard, especially as the pressure hits right. As a leader, like, you know, maybe it’s just you at the start, but then you have staff and family and they have staff, they have families, all of a sudden decisions that you make now affect 20, 30, 50 people. And the stress of that is enormous. And it’s incredible how much mental horsepower, like you said, it takes for a leader to do that. But if you do it properly, your staff and their families, and everyone becomes more invested because they know you’re working and doing everything you can to make their lives better.

Anastasia (08:19):

Exactly. Exactly. And that’s why it’s so important to over-communicate. You can communicate too much, you know, like you just have to over-communicate whatever you’ve tried to explain,

Mike (08:32):

I’ve made that mistake. I always think people should, they should know. Or I forget that I haven’t told them stuff and then I get upset. Right. And you’re exactly right. You need to over-communicate especially in a business, especially when there’s lots of stress happening. I mean, the COVID crisis is a perfect example. We’ve asked our mentees and gym owners to communicate with their clients and stuff like way, way more than they did before, because the pressure and the stakes are higher now and mistakes are amplified.

Anastasia (09:00):

Exactly. Exactly. And it’s a good example. I made a mistake myself yesterday. I thought I, you know, like you said, you think that people should know and they don’t know. I posted on a page about we had a guest coach and then I announced it to our coaches and said, Oh yeah, we’re going to have a guest coach here, whatever. And it just said his name. And my coach is like, Oh, who’s that? So, you know, like in my head, I’ve explained already to our members and I posted, but a few seconds later, I just sent half message to my team instead of over communicating exactly the same message. So I made a mistake and then I had to explain myself. I’m so sorry. You know, like I’ve explained to members, but I didn’t explain to you guys properly. And I half assed pretty much my communication. So yes, we all do make mistakes and it just, you learn those lessons as you go. And it’s a good reminders to yourself. That’s right. I need to over-communicate, i need to explain this not just once, not just twice, maybe three times

Mike (10:10):

Being a parent probably helps. Right. You learn that with your kids. I’m sure.

Anastasia (10:15):

I feel like I’m like a broken record all the time.

Mike (10:19):

All right. What’s our next characteristic?

Anastasia (10:22):

The next one is intention. An intention of motivating others. You know, we don’t want to manage people. We want to motivate them. And that’s where it comes down to knowing what their values are and knowing what your business values and try to align them. And if they’re drawing a line, you either try to find a way that it works for both or it might not be the right staff.

Mike (10:50):

Yeah. So that’s the concept of like, as a leader, you’re inspiring people to follow you in their own way, right. You’re giving them some leeway to do things within the boundaries of your business, but you’re not necessarily, I mean, at times you are, but you’re not necessarily behind them shoving them and pushing them because if you have to do it that much, they’re probably not the right people. And you’ve got the right people on the bus so to speak at that point, you can just lead and set a great example and they’ll follow you because they’re motivated and they see your vision, which you’ve communicated clearly, clearly and consistently, as you just said.

Anastasia (11:21):

Definitely. We should make sure that our staff is encouraged and trained in a manner that meets their needs and the business needs as well. So motivating them and empower them to up skill, to do better and, you know, be empowered to learn more as well. And I think it’s quite important to show them appreciation and give them some little rewards to influence them to achieve desired goal as well. Like when they empower good behavior or reinforce positive action when they do something. Right. And I think that’s quite a big part of motivation as well. Yeah.

Mike (12:05):

It can be as simple as just even just a quick text or email saying, Hey, I noticed you changed the paper towels at the end of your shift, thank you so much. Or it could be something like, Hey, I got you a $20 gift card to Starbucks and something like that. But I think leaders sometimes forget that just the smallest word from a respected leader carries so much weight with the staff.

Anastasia (12:25):

Exactly. Yes, definitely. Definitely. And again I had a good reminder yesterday. I was emailing our clients reminding about CrossFit teams intake what’s happening next year. And I CC’d the [unintelligible] we’ll be taking. And when the client replied yes to book and they had a few words and they, whatever I said, coach actually replied to them. And I was reading the replies like, wow, they’re such lovely replies. So I went out of my way and I messaged him, the coach. And I said, that was such a lovely replies to clients. And you know, it made him happy and I didn’t realize that it was quite a big impact until, you know, I saw a little heart, you know, like on the comments you get, like it is important to you. And I keep forgetting how important it is to say these little things that, to say that you’re doing an amazing job, you know, I love how you did this, but when we say that you do an amazing job, we want to bring it back, explain what they did well. So then it reinforces the positive actions.

Mike (13:33):

When a respected leader gives you a pat on the back, it makes you feel so good and makes you want to try harder. So I agree with you so much on that one. I’ve been having a good time listening. Is that number four, number five characteristic?

Anastasia (13:43):

That’s number five. Yes.

Mike (13:47):

Let me ask you this. Now we’ve got the characteristics in front of us. Are leaders born with these characteristics or can you train them or learn them?

Anastasia (13:55):

It’s quite tricky. Out of my own interest, I did some research on that and I was trying to, because in my head I always had, Oh, I know leaders are born, definitely, but actually research by some psychologist has proven that leaders are mostly made and yeah, and apparently there’s research. So it shows that there’s about one third that are born and two-thirds that are made. And it clearly indicates that certain characteristics help to be a good leader. You know, there are the characteristics that you are born with, but you also can learn all of these skills and to become a good leader.

Mike (14:40):

I would have thought it was the other way. I would’ve thought it would’ve been two thirds born and a third are learned. And it’s fascinating to me that it’s the opposite.

Anastasia (14:48):

And apparently, the ability to lead and motivate like a group of people mostly comes from experiences self-development and exceeds to right training.

Mike (14:58):

So that’s interesting. So then as a gym owner, if you’re talking about your staff, you can certainly mold and train leaders by being a good example. And by giving them the training that they need, and then they have to take some ownership themselves with some self-directed work.

Anastasia (15:14):

Yeah. Yeah.

Mike (15:16):

So at your gym and your staff, have you had that experience where you’ve been able to take someone who was, maybe wasn’t quite a thriving leader to start and then develop that person into a great leader? Has that happened for you?

Anastasia (15:27):

I think most coaches do become leaders. If they want it, or they don’t want it, you know, like, it’s just part of their job. Yes, actually, I’m looking back when I first approached my head coach, he was just a member and he wasn’t a coach, and I said, you’re going to be a great coach. You know, you are what people want to see as a coach. And he was like, no, I don’t want to be a coach. So a few months later, we asked him to intern and then he got his level one, he become a coach. Then many months later, I was like, you’re going to be a great head coach. I can see this. And he was like, no, no, no, I don’t want to manage people. Like, I’m not good at this, whatever. I was like, I think you’re going to be a great head coach.

Anastasia (16:13):

It’s not about managing people. It’s about teaching them and motivating and empowering and stuff then. And so I helped him to become a head coach without saying that he was a head coach. And then a year later I said to him, look for the last year, you’ve be doing a head coach role. Would you like to get paid as a head coach now? And that’s pretty much how he became a head coach. And he’s been with me for seven years.

Mike (16:39):

That’s a huge mind trick.

Anastasia (16:39):

Yeah, because I guess I saw it in him before he saw it in himself. So he was not a born leader. He is more people, you know, he is a very extroverted people person, you know, let’s just say, clown. Always makes everyone happy around. But he learned the skills of leadership.

Mike (17:07):

Yeah. It’s interesting. Cause I’ve seen both at my gym, we have some coaches that we saw immediately, as soon as they walked in the door, that is just a person that people will follow that, you know, he or she just had that something. Like they were the kind of character that you would just follow because they’re inspiring. They’re consistent, they’re clear. They have a vision. All the things that you’ve talked about, we’ve had other staff members over the years that I think we did the same thing as you where we saw something in them, put them in a role as a coach. And at the start, they were a little bit nervous about it, but you could see as they developed confidence, they started to grow into that role. And that for me was a big realization. And it goes back to what you said before.

Mike (17:44):

Confidence is huge. And as people build that confidence, then they to grow into leadership roles and they start to have confidence to make decisions and do the things that you need them to do. And that confidence often comes from, let’s say, working with a mentor, like for example, you’re talking about you’re setting an example, they learn from you and then they start to get their own competence, especially when you’re reinforcing it, you’re correcting their errors, you know, kindly and constructively. You’re giving them feedback and you’re developing them and really bringing out the best traits in them. So you can really develop a leadership, you know, leadership qualities in a coach, at least that’s what I’ve seen. And it comes from my mind from confidence.

Anastasia (18:21):

Yeah. And I can see that even with my mentees or other mentees, they have become better leaders because they have this support from the mentor that helps them to be empowered and encourages them. And it just gives confidence. And I think when I got a mentor with Two-Brain, I became a better leader.

Chris (18:47):

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Mike (19:08):

You make a great point there with, you know, and I remember like back in the early days, it was like, you know, 2010 or something like that. And I would sit in the stands at CrossFit events and I would talk to other gym owners and ask them all the questions, you know like, Oh, have you ever raised your rates? Or what do you do with a problem member? And you bounce these things off them, right. And you would learn and develop confidence and you’d find your way to being a better gym owner through that process. Now with an established mentorship curriculum, we’ve solved all those problems and Two-Brain has put all that stuff in the Growth ToolKit and our mentors know how to solve these problems. As a gym owner, it’s just so fascinating because we work with one of the Two-Brain mentors as well, to be able to just ask some questions, get some outside perspective and say, Hey, I’m thinking about doing this.

Mike (19:48):

What do you think? Well, that looks like a good idea. And all of a sudden you feel much better about it. And you can act as a confident leader because you’ve done your research as opposed to just winging it. And that’s really the benefit of having a mentor with you.

Anastasia (19:59):

Exactly. Exactly. I always say I have a mentor because they have no emotional connection to my business so they can see and tell me from the, you know, from outside how things look like or how they should be, rather than me being emotional about it. And you get stuck in that, you know, cycle, so yeah.

Mike (20:20):

So let’s talk a little bit about that with—we talked about communication already, but let’s dive into that one. How do great leaders communicate with their staff? Because it seems like, you know, if we’re talking about staff and leadership, the gym owner, we need that person to become better at inspiring the staff members, developing them, you know, all the things that you mentioned, what can we do to communicate better as gym owners with our staff?

Anastasia (20:45):

Yeah, it’s a good question. And I’m still learning myself. I ended up taking communication at uni last year just to help myself with that skill as well. So what I’ve learned is, number one is listen, you know, you need to learn how to be a good listener because that’s the heart of the communication, right? People that have good ability to listen, they can answer the question in a more meaningful way as well. And you know, like if you don’t take an effort in active listening, you really disservice yourself and the other person. So number one is listening.

Mike (21:27):

And that’s fascinating because everyone thinks communication is all about what you need to say. That’s only 50%. You need to listen first. And that’s a really great point to remember.

Anastasia (21:38):

Yeah, listen first. Also knowing your audience, who you’re talking to is quite important because the way you will talk to your child or your partner would be very different the way you will talk to your boss. And it also will be very different how you would talk to your stuff. So knowing your audience is super important and like to understand this perspective, you can always have the same sentence that you want to say and then say it how you would say it to your partner, and then try to say same way, how you would say to your staff, for example. Then it will help you to understand this perspective, like, Oh, OK. Yeah. I actually have to know my audience. I have to change my tone and how I deliver exactly the same message to three different audiences.

Mike (22:29):

You can probably break that down even further saying you have two different staff members and one benefits from like, you know, maybe more abrupt or more direct communication and another needs maybe slightly a softer delivery. So you have to kind of tailor your communication styles to each person on your staff and in your life. Probably.

Anastasia (22:47):

Exactly, exactly. A hundred percent. The other one is to minimize. So when you try to communicate something to someone, stick to the point. The more information you give out, the more you’re going to confuse.

Mike (23:02):

Oh, that’s a good one, that goes back to clarity. Yeah.

Anastasia (23:05):

Yeah. Yep. It provides clarity in many cases, a hundred percent.

Mike (23:09):

I’ve made that mistake many times when the thing that you need to say is tough to say. And so instead of saying that thing, you dance around it and you keep kind of circling around, circling around, circling around, and then the person is just irritated, confused. And then by the time you actually get to the point it doesn’t work. And, you know, Chris has written articles about this in the blog. And the thing that he said is just come right out with it and just say, it’s not working out. We have to fire you. And then after that, you know, you sort out the rest, but at least the hard part’s out of the way,

Anastasia (23:37):

Yes. A hundred percent. But also at the same time, it’s can be quite hard. And some people that think I’m too direct because I go straight to the point and it’s, I guess, one of the things and cultural things that you learn in Russia is that you have to be right to the point, very direct. And when I came to New Zealand, I struggled a little bit because, you know, culture in New Zealand, you kind of smooth things out a bit, you know, before you get to the point and I’ve got the reputation of being a little bit too direct.

Mike (24:12):

Well, but you know, it’s funny cause the Canadian culture is a lot like that too. Like we’re very, like new Zealand’s, pardon me, we’re very, you know, laid back and kind of don’t ruffle feathers and so forth, but sometimes we’re just ineffective communicators. And you know, it’s interesting, like I think back to one of the best communicators that I worked with back in the day when I was at CrossFit was Dave Castro. And one of the reasons for that was Dave was very direct and he would never, you know, hesitate and say, Oh, I don’t know about this. He would say, I like it. Or I don’t like it. That was really, it was really easy to work with. And some people, you know, you could take that as like, Oh, it’s abrupt or gruff, but I always found it refreshing because I never had to guess. I always knew exactly what I was getting into. And it was like, this is good. We’re done. Or this needs to change, do it now. And I’m like, OK, good. I like that.

Anastasia (24:59):

No surprises.

Mike (25:02):

When people have to guess or when they’re confused, like when you leave a conversation with a superior and you’re confused, that’s not a good feeling.

Anastasia (25:10):

Definitely not. No. And the next one again, over communicate, and it comes to, you know, communication with your staff or with your clients, like, for example, if you tried to enroll someone into something or trying to promote one of your challenges or workshops or courses, you know, sending out one email, for example, this just example is not going to be enough. You want to send an email, then you want to send another email two weeks later. Then you want to send a reminder week before it. And then a little short reminder one day before. So if it comes to your staff, over communicating, if you have something coming up like event or meeting or whatever, and you try to discuss, I mean, again, you talk about it, you send email reminder. Maybe you send some questions that you’re going to be talking about as well. So then they can come prepared and know what the conversation’s going to go about.

Mike (26:08):

It’s really funny from a media perspective, because this principle applies there as well. People assume that when you say something once everyone hears it or remembers it, and it’s not the case, right. It just isn’t. And so like, if you have an event and you announce it once maybe you get to 20% of the people, you know, you announce it fourr five or eight times, you probably get to like 70%, maybe something like that. And it’s the same thing with like communicating. And we talked about this in mentorship vision. Your vision for your gym is the most important thing of all. What I did was I just wrote it out. I put it on the wall in my gym and I assumed that everyone read it. No one read it, right. Except for me. And then I couldn’t understand why people didn’t know. And so communicating all the time and saying the same things over and over again, almost sounds redundant, but if you do it in creative ways, you’re going to get the effect that you want, as opposed to just saying it once, forgetting about it. And then wondering why no one understands.

Anastasia (26:58):

Exactly, exactly. I can’t remember. I was reading somewhere, was it 11 or 16 times? You need to get something in front of someone before they actually see it, especially if you put it out on social media.

Mike (27:11):

Yeah. And you know, that number is probably, I bet that number is going up, you know, as we get more and more information overload on Instagram and Facebook and all the other stuff, I bet it becomes more important now than ever to communicate better because people are so distracted. Back in the day before there were cell phones and the internet and all those other stuff, you could tell people something and nothing was going off in their pocket and buzzing and distracting them. But now getting notifications, not listening. So I agree with you. I think seeing things over and over again is important. And the really talented communicators find creative new ways to say the same thing over and over again. And Chris is really good at this on the blog. He talks about the same principles regularly, but he’s always got a new twist or a new story or something that makes it engaging or some sort of presentation that helps you remember and connect with it. So that’s the one I’ll tackle on there is communicate, communicate regularly and communicate creatively.

Anastasia (27:58):

Yeah. Yeah. And the last one of course is the body language. You know, if you are communicating in the front of someone, the body language is crucial. You always need to give them eye contact. You want to, you know, you want to make sure that, you’re sitting forward towards the person that you’re listening to them, that you’re engaged. You know, one thing for me personally, if I’m sitting in the room of someone and they’re crossing their arms and legs, I just can’t help myself and go, all right, I was going to start this conversation this night, or you’re going to relax because you know, those arms is like, it’s a block.

Mike (28:37):

I don’t like it. Like I had a real passionate dislike of coaches in our gym crossing their arms and standing, I couldn’t stand it. Or leaning against something. That was the other thing I hate it because those two things to me, in an active, physical-fitness environment where you’re trying to inspire people to be better. That to me says disengaged, lazy, tired, fatigued, all the things that shouldn’t be in a gym, in a leader in the gym. Do you agree?

Anastasia (29:01):

100%. It’s one of our internship process that we tell people, if you don’t know where to put your hands, put them behind your back.

Mike (29:08):

It’s almost military. Right?

Anastasia (29:10):

Well, I guess I did it for my husband who is a police dog handler. You know, that’s the same thing for them. If they didn’t know where to put your hands, put them behind your back? Like, you know, not like they’re trying to arrest you, but behind the back like you’re open to communication.

Mike (29:28):

But it’s like, you make a great point because a lot of people don’t think about the body language and especially in the age of like texting and virtual stuff. And especially right now in COVID where everyone’s online and you can’t always see each other, you can get away with a lot of stuff. Right. You know, when you’re in person though, or when you were communicating, you know, even I’ll even step back, even on the phone, if your voice sounds really bored and it’s very different than when you’re active, right. Everything that you do in terms of the way you use your voice and the way that you stand and the way that you engage people, even eye contact, that makes a huge difference. But I think a lot of people forget about that because they’re often tapping with their thumbs on a phone. Yeah. So let’s move on to the last thing here. Let’s talk about some of the things listeners can do today to improve leadership and communication skills. You worked with a mentor. You also are a mentor to many people, and you’re a coach in a gym. You’ve got tons of clients. Let’s give some listeners a few things that they can do today to start working on leadership skills.

Anastasia (30:26):

So the first thing I would be concentrating is trying to create a shared sense of purpose between yourself and your team. So trying to have clear communication of your vision and then take your people along on your journey. So that would be number one for me.

Mike (30:49):

So the thing that you’d have to do is you have to have a vision statement or a vision, and we help our mentees figure that out. We help them dial it in and teach them exactly like, why do you run this business? What are you trying to accomplish? So that would be the step that I would say is find out what your vision is. It doesn’t have to be the most grandiose thing, but create a vision statement and then share it with your staff. So that gets that, that shared purpose. Get them on board.

Anastasia (31:17):

Yeah. And that’s always the question I ask my mentees. I’m like, is your staff going for walks with you or are they actually going to destination?

Mike (31:25):

Oh, that’s a good one.

Anastasia (31:27):

And that makes them realize like, ah, I dunno, I think they’re going for a walk. You know, I was like, all right. So then your goal is to make sure that you have a clear vision and you can clearly communicate it back to them and explain where you actually going and how you’re going to get.

Mike (31:44):

Yeah, I love it. And I’m going to throw a resource at you listeners if you’re struggling with that process, we’re going to put a link in the show notes, it’s to a show, Two-Brain Radio episode called when no one sees your vision and it’s all your fault. And it’s with Two-Brain mentor Kaleda Connell. And she’ll talk about some of the ways that you can get around that problem. So check out that resource, if you don’t have a vision statement.

Anastasia (32:06):

The next one is just a practice of treating people fairly, giving the credit when it’s due, and take personal responsibility when things go wrong.

Mike (32:15):

  1. So that one, if people want to put that in practice today. What that is is I would suggest, complimenting someone on, let’s say this, how complimenting four or five staff members today, just with a simple text on something.

Anastasia (32:28):

That’s perfect. That’s great. Yes. A hundred percent.

Mike (32:31):

Cause people forget. Right? So let me just take five, you know, to take like a minute to send five quick texts and just say, Hey, I thought your cue in the five o’clock class was great. Thank you. I saw you change the toilet paper. Thank you. You know, five texts and all of a sudden you’ve done some communication with your staff and you’ve built a relationship.

Anastasia (32:48):

Yes. Yep. And the other one, if you don’t communicate with your staff regularly, like if it’s only once a month catch up, I would recommend practicing sending email out weekly and it could be basic one. You know how the week when at the gym, what’s coming next week and what you need help with. And I would also ask a question. You want to ask some sort of question that relevant to what actually is happening at your business right now. So then you get communication back that you know, that they’re reading, you know, they understood what you were talking about and they’re communicating back. So there’s an engagement.

Mike (33:24):

That’s a great principle that shows up even in marketing, where when we send emails to clients, asking a question and asking them to respond is a great way to exactly do what you said, find out if they’re listening and reading. And the other thing is it gives them an opportunity to voice a concern or to tell you there’s a problem that you can solve before it becomes a big problem. So when we talk about, say like marketing things and retention, we’ll often send out emails to clients saying, you know, here’s some tips. You’ve been here for three months, have your goals changed? Hit reply. And let me know, you know, what your goals are for the next three months. If they reply and say, Oh, you know, I just haven’t accomplished anything. I’m struggling. That client is going to walk away. And then you can fix that by responding to that email. So opening a dialogue is such an important thing. So that’s the thing. So let’s tack that on. So if people are home today and they want to do this, send an email to your staff and ask a question at the end, get them to respond. And if you don’t hear, would you poke them again and say, Hey, did you get my email? Would you do that?

Anastasia (34:22):

Definitely. Definitely. I normally do that with clients as well. With gym clients, I set up, like I normally set up automated email and I set it up and like promoting something, whatever it is. And then a couple of days later, I send another email, Hey, have you seen my email that I sent you about this offer that I have for you? So it kind of reminds them to read it.

Mike (34:47):

It’s so important to get that dialogue, because again, that’s the whole thing is you want to start like communication can’t be one way. You can certainly like with automations and email, you can send emails and people still read them and don’t respond. But once they do respond, that’s a next step in the communication chain. And that’s super important to building relationships. Right. And especially with staff, like your closest staff people in your gym.

Anastasia (35:07):

Yes. Yeah. Definitely. Definitely. Because, you know, if you look after your staff, they’ll look after your clients. That’s the one thing that I’ve learned long time ago.

Mike (35:18):

And everyone’s happy, right? The business thrives, the clients are happy. Your staff has clients that pay their bills and the gym owner is happy because he or she is making a profit. So it’s a big win for everyone. And it all comes from the leader.

Anastasia (35:30):

Yes, it always comes from the top.

Mike (35:33):

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us about this and give us those three things that people can try if they need to be better leaders. We’ll check back with you in a little while in the next year or so. And we’ll talk more leadership. Will you come back and do that?

Anastasia (35:45):

Of course I will, thank you, Mike, for having me.

Mike (35:47):

Thank you so much for taking the time. I appreciate it. That was Ana Bennett on Two-Brain Radio. For a host of free resources from Two-Brain founder, Chris Cooper, head to and click free tools. You’ll get over a dozen free guides that will help you improve your gym today. I’m Mike Warkentin, your host. Please subscribe for more episodes of Two-Brain Radio.


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