Today’s fitness club operator is looking for determined professionals who are self-motivated and positive. People who stand out and follow a few basic rules become an indispensible part of a club’s team.

If you are a fitness manager, you have room to grow at your company. The following are 10 suggestions for how you can make yourself more valuable and perhaps help yourself advance within your company.

  1. Increase productivity: Become a top producer by assessing ways to do jobs more effectively and efficiently. By improving your productivity, you will help increase revenue, referrals and renewals to the facility. You must be willing to challenge yourself to create ways in which you and those around you can quickly complete tasks.
  2. Be the master of ideas: Generate ideas on a regular basis to earn credibility. Always know why a change is needed and the specifics of implementing the idea.
  3. Gain the competitive edge: To grow and become a more valued employee, you must gain a competitive edge. That starts by striving to do your job better every day, putting forth the effort required to get your job done, raising the bar for yourself and those around you. In doing this, you will earn a reputation as someone who not only strives to go above and beyond but accomplishes it, too. Tell the supervisor when you can handle extra responsibility load and step up to accept it. Demonstrate that you are willing and able to take on new challenges and want to move up in your career.
  4. Be the master of customer service: When you deal with a member’s concern, special wish or immediate need, you must stay solution oriented. Listen to the member and find a solution. If no solution exists, then create one.
  5. Learn from your mistakes: Trying to cover up your mistake does not change the fact that the mistake was made. Instead, admit all mistakes, resolve them and then strive never to repeat the same mistake. By doing this, you gain credibility and respect from your boss and co-workers. Blaming others, offering excuses and ignoring the problem only prolong finding a resolution and make co-workers distrust you.
  6. Be knowledgeable about recent trends: Help your company stay competitive in the industry by always staying up on the newest trends. Study the neighboring competition and develop new programs to help keep your club on top of the game. Ways to help you “be in the know” are attending shows and conferences, enrolling in certification courses or subscribing to online education resources.
  7. Pull your own weight and take on more: Accomplish what is assigned to you first, then volunteer to assist where needed. To get your work done first, use lists and priority charts. These tools can prevent procrastination, which often leads to last-minute decisions and asking for help from others. Do not rely on people to assist you, brainstorm with you or make decisions for you. Once you've accomplished all on your list, let your supervisor know you can handle more of a workload and larger responsibilities.
  8. Become a community representative: Be seen as the go-to person for any question. Be knowledgeable about the product, the science and the business, and be there to assist. To be this person, you must continue to study, attend seminars and get recertified. Then, you can be comfortable leading seminars for staff members, or bringing in high-level educators to assist you.
  9. Follow through: In order to earn respect and trust, follow up on everything you do. Complete all tasks and never leave the scene without asking for feedback from co-workers and/or a supervisor.
  10. Set goals: Develop a 30/60/90-day goal list and a plan to reach each goal. Celebrate all victories and milestones to help you stay motivated for the next task. Measure your results, share them with a mentor and continually visualize what success will feel like.

These 10 suggestions not only will keep you on task as a fitness manager, but they also will help you to strive to be better and, eventually, an indispensable part of your company.

Ann Gilbert, director of fitness for Shapes Fitness for Women, leads a team of more than 350 fitness professionals. She is a well-known presenter and has received the IHRSA/ACE Trainer of the Year award. For the past 10 years, Gilbert has served as a faculty board member for the Shapes Academy, an internal educational resource for continuing education. She can be reached at annfitt@verizon.net.