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Working up a storm in the fitness world

Susanne Axelsson
Susanne Axelsson
December 15, 2021
Working up a storm in the fitness world
Mel spoke at our Global Frontline Experience Summit 2022 in an insightful mini-talk session. Listen in above. If you missed the summit, don't worry! All of the powerful sessions are available right here.

When the meaning of your name is ‘storm’, is it any wonder that Mel Tempest is creating a whirlwind across the fitness world?! Mel is an Australian-based multinational award winning fitness business influencer and a well-known advocate for female leaders in the fitness industry. Speaking at events, writing books and presenting her own podcast keeps her busy… but not so busy that she doesn’t have time to stay active on the club floor and to check in with her team daily. 

Mel believes her greatest success is that she’s proven that it’s possible to become the best version of yourself and to create change and inspire others, even without a ‘formal’ education in the fitness industry. 

Her interview with us is a testament to her tenacity, leadership style and ability to build her business by building others up to be their best…

See the storm in others

Mel entered the fitness industry later in life, and through the opportunities, experiences and obstacles she has overcome to realise success, she has adopted a mantra that helps her push through; and ensures she offers others an opportunities to achieve their goals:

“One life. One chance. No refunds, no exchange. Why wouldn't you give any opportunity a try?” 

Acknowledgment and gratitude for all the opportunities she’s been given helps her to see the potential in others:

“It's only natural that there are going to be people who are better at what we do. The best thing we can do is recognize what we are good at… It’s also quite okay to delegate. That’s not a weakness - it’s recognising the strength in others and by doing so, you’re helping your industry become stronger.” 

Mel says that her family hates going out for dinner or shopping with her, because she’s always on the lookout for talent in others;

“I've been to a store before; had a great customer experience and offered the young man a job on the spot. He started on the front desk; moved up to become a personal trainer; and ultimately went on to compete in bodybuilding. All of that happened because I had a great experience. He didn’t have fitness experience – but I recognised his potential. I gave him an opportunity; but I also created an opportunity for my business at the same time.”

Don’t let a black cloud ruin your day

Mel opened her first gym just 18 months after joining the fitness world, so knows a thing or two about the ups and downs of jumping into something new and overcoming obstacles.

Those experiences and a passion for people are what helped Mel to coach others though tough times, and to understand that every person and situation should be treated differently. 

“So often, people falsify how they feel and who they are by acting jolly all the time - but when they get in their car, they'll be crying their eyes out. It’s so important to keep observing your team - you need to understand their personalities and traits; and that will help you as a leader to approach them in the right way.” 

When her team needs help, Mel is the first person to step up. “Equally so, every now and then we all need a reminder that to ‘keep on carrying on’ is sometimes the best medicine, and a good leader can deliver that message with the care and impact it requires.” 

When the grass is greener on the other side - ask why!

When looking for inspiration, Mel simply looks over the fence, admitting there is a lot she can learn from the medical, hospitality and retail sectors. 

“Success in those three industries is all about being in the moment and delivering what the customer is there for. Inspiration is sometimes a matter of getting out of our own backyard -  go and learn about other people's business cultures and communities. If the grass is greener - ask why?”

Never stop ‘teaching’

Mel always felt her passion for the fitness industry grow stronger in the moments when she was teaching others to build a better version of themselves. Here’s how she channels her passion into coaching, even now that she’s ‘off the floor’:

  • Stay ‘active’!
    “Get out of the back office, walk and talk with your frontline and customers. To know where coaching is needed most, you must have an active understanding of the people in your community and the culture you have created. You need to know where your team is having an influence – and what kind of influence.”
  • Turn feedback into an opportunity for praise
    “We know that shouting it out when someone is doing a great job is a great booster. But what about when that feedback is not so easy to hear? That’s OK too – it’s an opportunity to work on your skills and improve. The most important part is acknowledging when people have made a change and improved; and letting them know that it’s been noticed and appreciated.”
  • Call on other coaches
    “Didn’t we just talk about this? OK, let’s cover it again – it’s OK to delegate if you need to. You simply can’t be the best at everything.If your team needs the extra push, get someone to come and help them think bigger and outside the square.”

Calming the storm

There’s nothing that Mel loves more than that feeling of helping others reach their potential and seeing the excitement on their face and smile in their eyes when they do. 

We think these perfectly sum up Mel’s whirlwind approach to inspiring herself, her team and her customers:

  • “Passion comes from that feeling of helping people achieve their dreams and giving them an opportunity to better themselves.”
  • “We all need to collaborate and come together more. Don’t fear your peers. We have so much to offer, and it's up to the older generation to grab the younger generation by the hand, lead and nurture them, and teach them to be leaders of the future.” 
  • “There's lots of ways of creating a great experience, but everybody (everybody!) wants to be recognized. Everybody wants to be noticed. And everybody wants a smile.”

Mel will be speaking at our Global Frontline Summit on 16 February 2022, along with other inspirational leaders from people-powered businesses across Marketing, Customer Experience, Operations and HR. Register now to level-up on your frontline experience knowledge. Click here to find out more.

Susanne Axelsson

About the Author

Susanne Axelsson
Susanne is the Frontline Community Evangelist as well as the author and researcher for Frontline Magic Handbook. She believes happy customers are born out of great experiences. Great experiences are delivered by motivated frontline people.
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