Motivation is one of the main priorities for a Fitness Manager (ISRM, date unknown), as without effective motivational skills, the department would not run efficiently. Asprou is a motivational role model for his colleagues as he was quickly promoted from Fitness Instructor to Fitness Supervisor, to Fitness Manager (see Appendix 1, time 11. 01 – 11. 02).
From interviewing Lucas Asprou, Fitness Manager at the Esporta Norfolk Health and Racquets Club, the author has gained an insight about their role within the Esporta, the skills that are required for their position, the management styles they use and how they manage operational changes. The interviewee’s role within the company as Fitness Manager is to successfully manage, recruit, motivate, coach and supervise the fitness team to achieve all KPIs (key performance indicators) and to keep a friendly working environment (Esporta, 2008).
In the interviewee’s job description, his duties are defined into three sections: Operational Standards, such as the running of the department, health and safety and KPIs; Team Management and Development, including training, motivating and managing the team, appraisals and holidays: and Financial Management, for example financial targets, product promotions, stock-takes and developing profit (Esporta, 2008). Qualifications that have helped the interviewee in their role as Fitness Manager is a BSC in Applied Biology and a Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.
These qualifications will have given the interviewee knowledge and understanding into the human body, diseases (The University of Nottingham, 2008), health and fitness, motivation, the benefits of exercise, nutrition and long term exercise plan (Focus Training, 2006). The interviewee has learned and developed through practice and advice from the previous and other managers in the Company, as no formal training has been given.
The interviewee was automatically promoted to Manager, because the previous Fitness Manager and Supervisor left and the interviewee was promoted to Supervisor while on holiday. Asprou’s management style is very operational as he is aware of the day to day activities of the department (BERR, 2008); by ensuring that his colleagues complete the My Working Day and End of Shift Review sheet (see Appendix 3). Asprou and his colleagues use the information obtained from the sheets to assure that they are On Track, as “you can expect more if you inspect more” as quoted by Blanchard et al. , (1985).
Asprou concentrates on using motivation as an operational management style to achieve the strategic aim (Reaich and Wales, 2004), for example he uses the My Working Day sheet which the colleagues fill in on each shift, to ensure that they are on track. Therefore, if each colleague reaches their minimum targets, then this will increase the interaction between the Instructors and members, increase the participation rate in the gym challenges and classes and increase the profit from personal training sessions; these are all factors that make up the long-term aim of increasing member participation in the club.
Another way that Asprou motivates his colleagues is by using incentives. He has increased the Esporta’s targets, as he recognised that many people drop out after their first consultation due to money and motivation issues and so by increasing the first consultation target, it should automatically increase the second consultation percentage, which consequently increases the third consultation percentage. Therefore, the Team should find it easier to reach the targets, which subsequently increases their motivation levels.
If his colleague’s reach the 80, 60 and 50% targets, he will buy them a pair of trainers and give them half a day off paid. This style of management can also be referred to as hawk strategy (Hateley and Schmidt, 2001), as Asprou is very valuable to the Esporta, as without him the Fitness Department would not run efficiently. Asprou uses all four of the basic leadership styles when managing his colleagues: style one directing, style two coaching, style three supporting, and style four delegating (Blanchard et al. , 1986).
He is directing in a way that he gives definite instructions to his colleagues like “Pete, you are in charge of the maintenance check today for the bottom floor on all the cardio equipment” and he will know that the task is complete as Pete marks off each machine as it has been checked and is in good working order. My opinion is different to that of Blanchard et al. , (1986) on their claim that when a leader uses style one, they are very directing but their support is low; I believe that every Manager works in different ways.
This is supported by Asprou’s style, as he directs his Team by telling them what needs to be done and is a “hands on” manager by tracking the colleague’s progress. At the same time he supports his colleagues by tracking their progress from the information given by each colleague on the My Working Day and End of Shift Review sheet, and using Disc Analysis (see Appendix 1, time 11. 31) to identify each colleague’s traits. By distinguishing each individual’s traits, Asprou is able to support his colleagues by adapting his management style to suit the needs of the individual.
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