3 Traits of an Excellent Gym General Manager


Just like your favorite NFL or NBA franchise, no YouFit Gyms location would be complete without a strong leader steering the ship. That leader is the gym’s General Manager. And just like in the pro sports world, General Managers (GM) are entrusted to make the right decisions to set their teams up for success. 

After all, GMs are responsible for managing all assets of a YouFit location.

When you consider the scope of work that goes into operating a gym, you’ll gain an even deeper appreciation for a role that requires keen attention to detail, excellent communication, and strong sales and customer service skills. From overseeing all departments, ensuring the facility is clean and organized, handling paperwork, maintaining equipment, and making the overall member experience as positive as possible, this leadership position demands dedication and compassion. 

Of course, even the most gifted General Manager can’t do everything alone. 

So, that person has to be able to rely on team members across multiple departments to take care of daily tasks. That means building a diverse personal training staff who can work with clients of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. That means assembling a friendly front desk team who can quickly connect with prospective members and form lasting bonds with the familiar faces who show up to get their workout in every day. Plus, it means having a reliable cleaning crew who’s responsible for creating a safe environment for employees, members, and guests.  

Ultimately, a YouFit location can’t run smoothly without a well-rounded staff–and it’s the GM’s job to find the right people for every position. 

But what exactly does it take to be an excellent gym general manager? While there’s a robust list of critical characteristics and skills, here are three traits that make a gym General Manager truly stand out: 


It takes a special person to command respect from a group. But simply holding a management title doesn’t guarantee you’ll get that from your employees. What separates a good gym manager from a great one is not only your ability to communicate verbally, but also your ability to listen. 

Great leaders empathize and show compassion for their fellow employees, as well as members and guests. They must take concerns seriously, address potential problems promptly, and maintain an open line and mind for feedback. That last element is particularly important for building a culture that provides trust and honesty within the entire facility. 

Moreover, an excellent GM exudes leadership by being humble enough to help when called upon. Whether that involves assisting the front desk when things get busy, spending extra time training a new employee, or re-racking the weights during cleanup hours, leading by example will inspire other team members and reinforce the value of cooperation, collaboration, and communication. 

Strategy & Development

A savvy military general uses all information available to plot a plan of attack. At YouFit Gyms, a top-notch GM does exactly the same thing.

With so many moving parts, you must have a well-conceived and properly executed strategy to ensure all your monthly goals get accomplished. Each GM has to know the staff’s strengths and weaknesses in order to put each person in the best possible position to make the biggest positive impact. Plus, it’s beneficial for both the employee and the company for a GM to set achievable short- and long-term goals that foster accountability and personal growth.

At the same time, running a commercial gym requires a strategic business plan that accounts for multiple streams of income–including monthly memberships, personal training, group fitness classes, small group training, and unique amenities like, Pickleball–as well as expenses like payroll, marketing, equipment repairs, and vendor fees. Having a thorough understanding of the demographic of the surrounding area can make it easier to secure new members, pair a client with a compatible personal trainer, or even add another member to the team. 

Taking a strategic approach naturally provides a pathway for development on multiple levels. First, it will help employees gain valuable experience, acquire new skills, and set themselves up for promotional opportunities. Plus, implementing structure and executing specific initiatives develops consistency and expectations of high standards by all stakeholders. And when that happens, everyone–from the members to the staff–benefit. 

Team-Building Skills

It isn’t necessarily the most talented team that wins the championship. It’s the best (and often the most closely knitted) one that hoists the trophy. 

Although it certainly helps to have skilled, motivated staff members, it’s the General Manager’s responsibility to bring individuals together into a cohesive unit. That’s not always the easiest task, especially because we all bring different expectations and experiences to the table. However, a great gym General Manager figures out how to motivate every member of the team to work toward accomplishing common goals. 

To make that happen, a leader has to strike the right balance between supporting and pushing someone to reach new heights. Everyone has a unique way of thinking, so a GM aiming to construct a confident, goal-oriented team must understand how to light that inner fire within their employees to bring out abilities they didn’t even know they had. 

Find a Career as a Gym General Manager

Considering a career within the fitness industry? YouFit Gyms is hiring General Managers at locations nationwide. So, if you’re ready to change lives, sharpen your business skills, and lead a strong team, check out the YouFit jobs website to find an opening near you. To learn more about careers at YouFit, please visit the YouFit careers page.

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