How to Grow as a Leader

grow as a leader

Let’s say you have eight people rowing a boat. If their timing is off, they’ll go nowhere, even if they are the best rowers in the world.

Ben Bergeron of CrossFit New England in Natick, Massachusetts, used the above analogy to explain why leadership in the Affiliate is essential to success, and how it all starts with clarity of vision. “It’s your job to have a vision,” said Bergeron. “The success of your business comes down to how well you can articulate it to your team so that they can help you create it.”

But leadership doesn’t stop at the owner. Your staff and Coaches need to learn and grow in this area as well. That takes leading by example, said Tommy Carter, the owner of CrossFit Immortal in Pleasantville, New York. “I’m no stranger to hard work and I’m not too big for any job,” he said. “All my employees see that and it sets the precedent on the business and the gym, and what we expect from even our members on how they treat the place, so it all trickles down from the top.”

In fact, Bergeron explained several ideas at CrossFit New England and his business, CompTrain, were thought up and brought to life by his staff. “We give our staff really clear expectations and direction in terms of roles and responsibilities, then give them complete autonomy on how things get completed,” he said.

Growing in leadership can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it. Carter suggested seminars like “Immersion with Ben Bergeron” or “Box to Business.” He said both spoke on how success comes from a strong community backed up by quality Coaches.

However, learning about leadership can be as simple as picking up a book. “Read everything,” said Bergeron. “Attending seminars, enrolling in courses, taking classes and watching videos are great, but nothing beats reading. You can consume a decade’s worth of learning into a week by reading.”

Plus, self-assessment is huge. Carter said he evaluates his strengths and weaknesses daily. “You have to know what you’re good at, what you’re not good at. You have to be comfortable delegating and getting out of the way and trusting your staff and letting your staff take the reins on things,” he said.

Ultimately, the successes and failures of a business rest with the leader, said Bergeron. He explained it’s easy to blame others, but like Carter, a healthy dose of self-assessment can produce big results. “Taking ownership is about having the humility to look at yourself in the mirror and think, ‘Where can I do better?’” said Bergeron. “This kind of ownership takes a lot of the mystery out of the seemingly complex issue of leadership. If you can set this precedent, the extreme ownership mindset starts to permeate into the culture of the team — then big things can start happening.”

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at