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Leading a CrossFit Community: Key Characteristics of Positive Leadership


Being a leader comes naturally for some, and for others it’s a learned or even forced skill. The success of any CrossFit gym, company or community depends a great deal on the leadership. Now, the definition of a leader in the CrossFit world should not be restricted to owners and trainers. I think the most powerful examples are set by gym members themselves. So what are the key requirements for becoming a good leader in your box?

  • Listening

Leadership is often associated with speaking, providing direction and giving orders. But behind every good leader is a group of people giving constant feedback, generating ideas and formulating plans. Without ears wide open, a leader may miss key concepts and misstep as a result. In order to guide a group to success, whether in a CrossFit gym or otherwise, the leader must first understand the goals of the group and the action items required to achieve those goals. And as a group develops, listening becomes a foundation for adaptation. People have an inherent need to be heard and acknowledged, and you would be doing yourself and your gym a disservice to ignore that.

  • Learning

The moment on-going education starts to lack priority is the moment an individual gives up her potential for great leadership. Evolution as a person, a professional and even a CrossFit athlete is paramount. Mistakes will be made and lessons will be learned, but the best leaders display relentless curiosity and a thirst for more. If you think you know it all, you know nothing. So strive for greatness by working at growth in all facets of life. Use the people and tools around you to expand your knowledge, and know that every new day brings something new to learn.

  • Laughing

Nobody likes a leader with a stick up his ass. Expressing empathy and having a sense of humor helps humanize anybody in a leadership position. Learning to laugh at yourself and your mistakes helps maintain a sense of positivity and camaraderie. Stepping into a gym for a strenuous workout nearly every day can be daunting for most, so help those around you by making the experience fun. Laugh a little, even during the rough ones.

  • Lend a Hand

A perfect display of genuine leadership involves lending a helpful hand in any situation. Help pick up equipment. Offer an obvious tip or suggestion. Provide words of encouragement. Give a piece of yourself to your community, and its members will recognize that you are there for them. Not for a pedestal or a title or recognition, but to help maintain a support system for the betterment of the group. Give what you’ve got and set the stage for teamwork.

We all look up to the outstanding CrossFit athletes of the world. We follow the lead of our trainers. And we rally with our peers to push through the things that challenge us most. Every individual is a leader, whether they realize it or not. Maybe to their CrossFit community, their friends or their children. So remember that being bossy, critical and selfish won’t rally the troops. And without people who look up to you, leadership doesn’t exist. Have the backs of those in your community and they will recognize your selfless nature. Leadership can be a powerful tool if you use it for the right reasons.

Abi Reiland
CrossFit 8035