Can You Lead Like A Spinning Instructor?


The atmosphere was perfect: lights turned off, fans cranked up, and the music blasting. The class was packed with 25 riders intent on doing their best. People were smiling, laughing, excited to be there. As I sat there ready to get my butt kicked, it hit me. What if we all could lead like a spinning class instructor?

If you think about it, spinning class is an example of great business leadership and a great “meeting”.  Here’s why:

First, the spinning instructor is doing exactly what the class riders are doing: working hard.  She isn’t an exception to the rule.

Next, throughout the class she is encouraging everybody to work to their maximum. She even creates competition, with a team of one-half of the class trying to exceed the performance of the other half of the class. While it is competitive, and not all businesses want to pit one employee against another, in this case it was all about your individual performance contributing to the team goal. The competition motivated you to perform to your maximum ability.

Next, the “employees” want to be there. When you walk in, everybody is shaking hands and saying how glad it is they are to see them again in class. Throughout class, riders are encouraging those next to them to push themselves harder and to put in maximum effort. People cheer in exhilaration at the end of a mountain climb or a sprint. And at the end of class, everyone is giving one another high fives to congratulate them on their hard work. You can even have discussions with the instructor after class to talk about what went right, what went wrong, how you would change it, and how you would improve it.

So these are the five leadership and meeting attributes that come out of a spinning class:

  • People show up on time, the meeting starts on time, and the meeting ends on time.
  • The leader comes prepared for the meeting, and works as hard as the riders.
  • The instructor motivates the riders to participate and contribute their maximum effort.
  • People want to be there and have accomplished their goal when they left.
  • The instructor listens to feedback from the riders to find ways to improve the class.

My spinning class is only one example of unusual places where you might find great leadership. At what unexpected places have you found great leadership?

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