Group fitness directors just may have the most difficult jobs in the club. Typically, they oversee 30 to 40 instructors, deal with hundreds of members daily, work closely with managers, create new programming, deal with budgeting and troubleshoot equipment, all while teaching classes and attempting to have a life.

All those responsibilities can definitely be overwhelming at times, particularly when attempting to maintain a connection with everyone involved. Staying connected with instructors can be particularly challenging. Implementing the following simple methods for maintaining a connection with each instructor will assist in creating a feeling of teamwork and in keeping everyone moving in the same direction:

  • Monday motivator newsletter. This weekly communication tool should be short, sweet, easily accessible and fun to read. Provide vital information about what’s happening in the club, and add a bit of personality. Keep in mind that the longer it is, the less it will be to read. It is best to keep it to one page and viewed easily.
  • An instructors Facebook page. Creating a Facebook page for your instructors is a great way to communicate with instructors while controlling who views materials you post on the site. You can place class videos, photos, fitness-related links and updates on the site right from your desk or cell phone.
  • E-mail. Use e-mail wisely by sending your instructors several pieces of information in one e-mail rather than sending a new one with every new thought. Keep in mind that not everyone reads their e-mails on a regular basis, so urgent messages might be better delivered by phone.
  • Texting. Use texting for short, powerful motivational messages or statements of appreciation, such as, “Viewed your class. It was awesome. Thanks for all you do.” Or “Glad you are on my team.” Don’t relay negative information through a text. Take the time to talk face-to-face or by phone for any information that may be viewed as negative.
  • Phone. Call one instructor each day just to check in. It will reinforce the feeling that you are accessible. Trying to call 20 instructors each day is overwhelming, but one per day is manageable.
  • Walk-throughs. Seize any chance to walk through the club, even if it’s on your way to the grocery store. Walk through, stop at the studio, make eye contact with the instructor and give a smile and thumbs-up. This is a great way to hold instructors accountable for their class presentations. It gives them the feeling that directors care enough to stop and see them. A personal visit means more than an e-mail and is a true team builder.
  • Snail Mail. Thank you cards are very cheap. They may take more time to write and to arrive in the recipient’s mailbox, but the extra attention and sentiment is always appreciated by staff.
  • Staff meetings. Hold at least two staff meetings each year. Even though everyone is busy, it is helpful to get together for at least an hour to review the program, build some camaraderie and just simply see each other in person.

Wendy M. Jett, corporate group fitness director for Urban Active, Lexington, KY, oversees group fitness for 34 club locations. She has been teaching classes, training instructors and developing new fitness programming for 25 years. You can reach her at wjett@urbanactive.com