Whether you are a health club owner, a general manager or a staff member, you are confronted with many opportunities to do the right thing or to do the wrong thing when no one is around to hold you accountable. You may be thinking right now about a few occasions when you found yourself in this situation.

If you are an employee, you may have been tempted to remain “on the clock” at a time when you should have checked out because your shift had ended or you were no longer needed. You may have been tempted to surf the Internet or communicate with friends on a social networking site during work hours rather than performing your assigned duties. Maybe you even have made a practice of helping yourself to free food or company supplies because no one was around to see you doing so. Maybe you stood at the water cooler badmouthing your boss or management.

If you are a manager, you may have found yourself in situations where you were credited with the work of others and you failed to speak up and set the story straight. Maybe you have opted to park closer to your club’s entrance even though you require your staff to park farther away.

Unfortunately, some managers hold themselves to lesser standards than they demand from their staff when it comes to things they consider to be minor details, such as wearing name tags and uniforms, staying well groomed, drinking policies, etc. Perhaps you sometimes rant and rave in front of other employees about a particular staff member when you have not yet shared with that person the reason for your irritation or given him or her a chance to correct it. Perhaps you walk right past litter during your rounds of the club or your department instead of picking it up and throwing it in the trash.

And what if you are an owner? Is it important for you to conduct yourself the way you want others to behave? Experts say children learn their behavior from observing their parents far more than from listening to the advice or demands of their parents. Your employees, including your managers, often take their cues from you, just as kids often take their cues from their parents. One of my favorite customer service quotes is: “The beatings will continue until your attitude improves.” Treat your employees the way you want them to treat your members, and they will follow your lead.

What sort of employee, manager or owner do you aspire to be? Do you want to be someone who is trusted, respected and admired by the people around you? Do you want to be the kind of person others want to work with? Do you want to be the type of leader others want to please and support because they choose to, rather than because they have to?

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It all starts with what you do when you think no one is looking. Here is a list of behaviors that will endear you to those around you at your club:

  • Treat others with dignity and respect regardless of how they treat you.
  • Try to look your best at all times because you are on stage while at the club.
  • Never ignore litter, trash or messy areas. Clean them up immediately.
  • Offer a warm greeting and a kind word to everyone you encounter, even if they never return the favor.
  • When in doubt about whether you are entitled to help yourself to company property, ask first.
  • Make an effort to do more than is required of you. It will always pay off.
  • Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes before passing judgment or taking a firm position.
  • Share the credit. Accept the blame.
  • If you want to be trusted, try being trustworthy.
  • Be loyal to those who are absent.

This list could go on and on, but you get the message. It seems so simple to just do the right thing, but our world is filled with those who think the rules of honesty, integrity and common courtesy were made for others.

That is the beauty of this message. It is so easy to shine in any business because so few people hold themselves to the same standards that they expect of others.

Creating an environment of excellence starts with you, so pay attention to what you do when no one is looking.

BIO

Herb Lipsman is chief operating officer of Houston Oaks Country Club & Family Sports Retreat in Hockley, TX. He also has been a consultant in the industry specializing in design, development and operation of upscale facilities. He can be reached at Herb@houstonoaks.com.