Yesterday I talked a bit about staff accountability and you probably gave a big sigh. I would too. In fact, I was talking to an Academy member on a coaching call yesterday and we talked about how she knows her staff needs more accountability, but doesn’t love doing that herself. 

(See that? When you have a coach, you don’t have to solve problems alone. You have someone who will ask you the RIGHT questions and help you make decisions that will work for your gym! If you could use that, book a call at and let’s chat about what a coach could do for you!) 

As much as I like staff doing everything I need them to do, I hate asking, “Did you do this? Did you get this done? Where are you on this?” 

I spent seven years in the military. Rarely did anyone ask me where I was on a project. Instead, if the deadline rolled around and I didnt have a “deliverable”, I had a commander at my office door. In fact, in my early years, I worked hydraulics on the A-10 Thunderbolt II. I remember backfilling at the base while my unit was deployed. Sometimes we had unrealistic turnaround times to repair jets and get them ready to head back to Afghanistan or Iraq. No one asked, “Where are you at on that rudder actuator?” Instead, they said, “I need this by Tuesday. Do what you have to do to get it done.” 

So when I opened my gym, I started with the same mentality. 

“Clean the bathrooms because I pay you to do it.” 

“Put away all the mats at the end of the night because it’s common sense.” 

“Get your lesson plan done before class begins.”

What I found though was that it didn’t work well for most of my employees. They didn’t spend time in the military. They didn’t have to develop an element of self-discipline and self-accountability. If there was one thing I hated in those early years, it was training and retraining, writing people up, and then retraining again. Seriously, it was awful and it felt like I hired all the wrong people.

What really happened though is that my staff needed someone to walk them through the tasks required, provide the expectation in writing, hold them accountable consistently, and be available if they needed help. 

For a few years I was this person. I would write the system, train the staff, have conversations and written documentation when they didn’t follow the systems, explain the “why” and help when they needed it. I’ll be honest…I still didn’t love it. It’s not who I am. At my core, I have an enormous amount of self-accountability when it comes to the gym, so I still struggle with this. But, once I learned that about myself, I knew what I had to do. I took my great front desk girl and, when she graduated college, I offered her a full-time job as the gym manager. I trained her how to do everything I was doing with the staff. 

That was eight years ago. Today, if I find systems not being followed (and it does happen sometimes), I go to ONE PERSON and chat with her. I let her decide how to handle it from there. Usually it’s just a conversation she has along with some added accountability measure she implements with the staff. 

But there are two pieces here you should note. The first is, SOMEONE needs to hold staff accountable. SOMEONE needs to write systems, train staff and be there when they need help. The second is, once you’ve mastered it and learned how to hold them accountable, if you loathe the task (or you’re just not good at it), then find someone who is and teach them how to be a leader. Today I have 32 on staff. I have one person to hold accountable. The manager.

If I come across a checklist not completed or floors not vacuumed, I’m not getting a hold of whatever staff member was in charge of that the night before. I’m notifying the manager so she can handle it. 

Maybe you’re not ready for a manager yet. That’s OK! Develop the systems, train the staff and then hold them accountable! Once you do that, you’ll have a well-oiled machine. It’s likely one of your current staff will step up and have some amazing skills here, and you’ll likely see them in a new light as a leader in your gym.