The 8 Toxic Personalities That Can Derail Your Fitness Business

November 17, 2014

By Josh Leve, AFS Co-founder & President.

In all my years working in the fitness industry, I can’t tell you how many times an inviting, friendly work environment created an atmosphere that fostered growth. When building or running your own business you need to be laser focused and not let outside factors impede your future plans.

But any studio owner knows that running a business also requires a delicate balance when it comes to handling your own employees.

A toxic work environment can derail your business faster than you ever thought possible. Think about it: employees forced to contend with one or more disruptive personalities can’t focus on the job at hand.

Here eight toxic personality types and useful tactics that you can employ to help restore a more productive workplace.

Backstabbers: Mind your body language when talking with badmouthing colleagues. Don’t absently nod in agreement as they talk. That signals tacit agreement—however unintentional—and only encourages them and reinforces the behavior.

Credit-Takers: Stop this behavior cold by encouraging your employees and managers to speak up and give credit where it's due before the offender has the opportunity to grab the spotlight.

Bullies: Documenting the offensive behaviors is essential. Discuss the situation with the bully calmly—and privately. Focus on behavior and not personalities, and make it crystal clear what the consequences are if the behavior doesn’t stop.

Hypersensitives: Take a respectful tone when delivering constructive criticism. Again, this should be a private conversation, and be sure to focus on both the problem and the solution. Don’t make this about personalities.

Serial eMailers: Explain to your colleague that it’s not necessary to CC everyone on all email. Relay the types of email that you should receive and ask to be removed from all unnecessary CCs.

Know-It-Alls: Simply acknowledge and compliment the employee’s depth of knowledge, but politely and firmly state that you know what you’re doing.

Brown-Nosers: Humor can help in this situation. Encourage your employees to try gentle (emphasis on gentle) teasing to get the offender to cease and desist. It should work once he understands that everyone knows his game.

Hyper-Criticals: Short and simple is the best approach to this situation. Turn to the offender and say, “Thank you for your opinion.” Then just walk away.

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Josh Leve is responsible for the strategic business operations for the Association of Fitness Studios. Josh brings more than 10 years of sales, consulting, advertising, marketing, operations, and retail experience to AFS.

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