The Leadership Formula


Leadership Qualities Everyone Should Strive to Embody.

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the annual IHRSA — International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association — trade show. Not only did I have the opportunity to network with hundreds of industry professionals, but I also had the privilege of attending a few of the educational sessions conducted by top industry leaders.

My favorite session was “Great Leaders Never Stand Still,” led by David Patchell ‘Patch’ Evans, the founder and CEO of GoodLife Fitness. I have spoken with Patch several times on the phone for various stories, but nothing could have prepared me for this session.

Right away he had everyone in the room — and there were at least 100 of us — standing on our chairs, dancing, pretending we were drinking margaritas. If that isn’t great leadership, then I don’t know what is. Within five minutes, Patch had us doing everything he said. And the reason we danced around like fools was because he was doing it too. He wasn’t commanding us to stand on our chairs while he watched; rather he was asking us to dance around with him.

As Patch said, “When you demand full commitment, you have to give it too. You have to give passion in order to get it.” This was his first lesson in leadership, you can’t expect your employees to work hard and give 100 percent effort, if you don’t. You have to lead by example.

Next, Patch has us write down a leader that we admire, three qualities they have and their impact on us. He chose Nelson Mandela because Mandela was a leader with a clear purpose, a visionary who acted on his beliefs despite great personal sacrifice. He brought change to his country and the world and rallied people around his cause.

Patch’s second lesson in leadership is you must have a goal. “Leadership is not something you inherit, it is something you strive to be.” As a tall athlete, Patch can be intimidating, so when he was starting his business, he decided to be a caring leader. You need to decide what type of leader you want to be. Do you want to be a motivational leader? Inspirational? Empathetic? Or something else.

Third, Patch explained that a leader must have a set of core values that supports your purpose. “Make sure people know what you stand for because then the right people will come to work for you and they will work hard. They will buy into the mission.”

Just like Patch had us do, write down the values that you want to embody, both personally and within your recreation center. By writing them down and keeping them top of mind, you will be held accountable and these values will serve as your moral compass.

Next, a great leader puts themselves in the shoes of others. When Patch was diagnosed with instant onset arthritis, he got a glimpse of what it was like to be an unfit or new member at a health club. Patch explained that getting arthritis was one of his greatest leadership lessons because it showed him what is was like to live in his member’s shoes and understand how they feel.

Finally, Patch’s last leadership lesson was to always challenge yourself. Just like the title of the session, Great Leaders Never Stand Still. “Think about the limitations that you put on yourself. Don’t say you can’t do something, instead pretend that you can do everything.”

Patch’s Leadership Formula: Never Stand Still, Learn, Grow, Live with Purpose, Become a Great Leader.

Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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