- Sonia Gavira
Lead in 15 –tribute to Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, a leadership role model in an age of social media
I’m passionate about leadership and that passion comes from a desire to see our companies, schools, hospitals and any other organisation you can think of, as well as our countries led in a way that ensures that the people within them come first, that people enjoy their time at work, feel engaged and driven to contribute. Because the more we all contribute, the greater this world will become. I truly believe that! And I also believe that many of the leadership role models we have today, are not ones that put people first. If we look at the political landscape at home and abroad, what do we see? Do we see people who put others above themselves? Do we see clear passion and purpose for the greater good? Nope!
Joe Wicks, better known as The Body Coach is an internet sensation in the UK who has created a business selling fitness and nutrition plans to those of us who want to get Lean and do it with minimum fuss. His short free videos of amazing meals with the tagline “Lean in 15” went viral and earned him numerous book deals. And he accompanied those videos with 15 to 30 minute videos of workouts that anyone can do at home.
I have done the 90 day plan twice and through no fault of Joe’s or his team, been scuppered by life events. (story for another day!). However I love them, have them on my phone and will definitely get to the end of the 90 days in the near future.
But what I want to speak about is Joe as a leader – a leader in the fitness, nutrition and wellbeing industry and a leader in the social media space. I don’t know him personally, so this is taken from my observations of him and from hearing him speak.
Here are some qualities, which make him a role model as a leader:
Passionate and focussed on a vision
It’s really clear that Joe is passionate about helping others get fit and lean and lead healthy balanced lives. Everything he does in his business is clearly focussed around those goals – be it the free recipes and videos, his 90 day plan, his Weanin15 (how to wean babies), his schools HIIT tour, books, talks, etc! And as you can see, the list is long. Because of that clear focus and message it allows him and his team to speak to lots of different audiences, but all with the same message of health and fitness
Joe is a master at creating community and even though I suspected it, I recently learned on a podcast he did with his cousin, that it all stems from his values around community and family. He builds community with his free content, with facebook groups around his 90 day plan on his instagram with his followers, and he does it by sharing content that is useful for those wanting to get fitter and healthier but also by allowing us into aspects of his life – so he recently had a baby girl Indie and married his partner Rosie. He shared photos that gave us a glimpse into his special day and in a way that felt intimate and balanced at the same time. Many of us take a while to find the balance – how much of us do we share and how much do we keep private? Joe is learning as he goes where the boundaries are but what’s great is he knows the value of sharing when creating community.
We see him sweat, we see him eat treats, we hear when he’s had a few too many G&Ts or when he’s going through a period of “I have to eat all the chocolate there is!”. And we experience him push through it all and get to the other side. It makes him human and relatable. Leaders don’t need to be all knowing and perfect, what they need to be is real and relatable and yet able to make decisions and guide us when we need it.
Doesn’t engage in criticism of others
Unlike others in the industry, Joe doesn’t engage in criticism of others and when they criticise him, he doesn’t respond or engage in the conversation. He is focussed on what he is doing, on his journey. He understands that engaging with those comments is futile – he can do nothing about others’ behaviour.
The amount of free content Joe puts out on social media is insane. Yes you can buy his programme and his books, but you can also choose to follow his free content and not pay him a penny and still get enormous value. And his team follow through on that too. When I was unable to finish the first 90 days due to family issues, I was given an extension and when the new revised plan came out, I was ready to pay for it again, but they let me have it for free. They now have a new veggie plan and even though I’m not a veggie, I’m likely to pay for it again in order to get the veggie meal plan and try again.
If you listen to the podcast with his cousin, you will also hear them both speak about his generosity towards his close friends and family – he feels that he cannot enjoy his wealth if those around him are struggling, so he ensures that they aren’t.
He is also known for responding to direct messages to him on social media. Some of those messages are said to be “intense” with people divulging information about their lives that they may not speak to anyone else about. He is known for taking the time to respond with voice messages in return. One personal trainer, sent out messages to a number of high profile fitness people including Joe asking for help and the only person that responded was Joe Wicks.
Knows what he is good at and engages other experts to broaden his offer
He knows that he doesn’t have to be the expert in all areas of health and fitness. He’s not a yoga, meditation or weaning expert but he knows people who are, so he uses his platform to promote them and their content and by doing so gives them a voice and provides his audience with more of the information that they want and need.
Hard working yet getting a balance
There is no doubt that he works hard and yet he has found a way of also enjoying life, travelling, taking time with his family and he mixes it in a balance that suits him, making time for what’s important to him.
He learns from his experiences and looks forward
There are decisions he has made around the business which have gone well and others that have not worked out as intended but this is all part of the learning journey and Joe learns and moves on. And as he does so he learns more about the type of business he wants. So at one stage there was an office of 50 people with plans for a global organisation – in his podcast with his cousin, he talks about how that didn’t work out as intended and how he has learned that there were perhaps aspects of that business model that aren’t what he wants going forward.
Surrounds himself with people he trusts
Every leader needs people around them who they can trust as this lets the leader get on with the decisions they have to take in greater security. He has worked with Bev James as a coach and mentor and he has his brother Nicky working with him as well as his cousin.
So those are a few of the traits that I believe make Joe Wicks a role model leader for our times.
As I was walking Whisky my dog in the woods and thinking about the qualities that make him a leader, it struck me that I could follow his lead by starting to provide as much free support and advice for business leaders who want to create organisations that people want to be a part of and do it with ease and fun, so look out for more videos on Youtube aimed at helping you think and act like the leader you can be and the leader we all need.
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