Recently I was in a high-end leisure club, one with a great reputation and amazing facilities. I was just sat in the café area after having a swim and having a coffee. I was not in particularly listening to anything as I was catching up on the 101 e-mails that seemed to have flown in during my swim.
Now before I start with my story, I just want to point out that I do not do posts like this very often. I prefer to focus on some of the amazing work that fitness professionals are doing and the positives of the industry. BUT this I think is an important lesson to get out there.
Having been involved in the leisure and fitness industry for more years than I care to remember I like to observe the comings and goings. Now on this evening, there was a group of staff members all sat around a table, all in uniform, right in the middle of the café area. Now I understand that staff need downtime and integration with the members is always a good thing.
But… as you can probably guess this is not going to be a story of how amazing they were acting. It always amazes me how people can forget where they are when part of a big group… in this case a café surrounded by members. They started to laugh and joke about some of the members that they come across in the gym environment. This started to get quite personal, loud and for want of a better term rowdy.
Now some of the team I know reasonably well, in my eyes they had always been professional and respectful of the members of the club. They had in this instance clearly just completely forgotten where they were and how what they were saying might have been affecting the members sat around them. They may have just been venting after a particularly hard day… We all need a vent sometimes!
I do not think for one minute they thought any of the members they were talking about were around them, and they probably were not. But what they had clearly forgotten is that other members would be certainly thinking ‘I wonder if they talk about me like that?’
As a fitness professional, I am not going to lie as in any job there will be days, individuals and situations that at times get on your nerves or are funny. However, as a professional, you need to remember that you are always on show, how you speak about and relate to one person is often seen as a measure of how you will relate to others. Your public image even on those very worse of days should be one of positivity and respect for all that you come into contact with. This kind of behaviour presents yet another barrier to those members who could overhear this conversation is going to these professionals for help.
The old saying ‘if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing’ comes to mind!