If you own your own salon and employ others, you’ll already know that being a great leader is not something that just happens. It’s a skill.
But the good news is that like all skills, it can be learned.
Why do you need great leadership skills?
Well, the answer to that is pretty straightforward. If your team doesn’t have a strong leader, you end up with a group of people who are all doing their own thing, travelling in their own direction and at their own pace.
A good leader keeps everyone moving in the same direction, reaching for the same goals, and loving every minute of it along the way.
Learning how to be a great leader is an ongoing process, but you have to start somewhere. The good thing is that if you really want to master this skill, then you can and will continue to get even better with patience and practice.
So what are the steps you need to take to hone your leadership skills?
Set Great Goals
You must have a clear vision of where you want your business to be and then be able to set goals around that vision. Start by visualising what you want your business to look like in 12 months, 3 years and 5 years time.
Once you can see clearly what your business needs to look like, it’s time to develop some good goals around that vision.
You then need to be able to break your goals down into bite-sized action steps that can be tackled one at a time.
Try to be strategic with your planning, so that your 5 yr goals will build successfully on top of your 3 year and 1-year goals.
Use Time Wisely
I often hear salon owners say, “I’d like to do that, but I just don’t have the time”. Of course, in reality that’s just an excuse for not doing something that’s a bit scary, boring or unpleasant.
Multimillionaires have exactly the same amount of time each day as you do, and they can run an empire using their time wisely and so can you.
If you are truly time restricted, then delegation is a great way to make more of your time.
Even though you may secretly believe that no-one can do things as well as you can, that’s simply not true.
If you choose the right person for the job and give them the right training, you can delegate many time-consuming jobs to other people.
Not only does this free up loads of your time, but it grows the other person’s confidence; making them feel more valued and trusted.
Have a plan for each day outlining what you want to achieve.
A boss who never seems to get anything done is not very motivating to staff, but one who is a high achiever sets her team a great example.
People do what they see you do, not what they hear you tell them to do.
Learn to Communicate
Great communication is not all about how well you speak or even what you say.
As a matter of fact, it’s more about how well you listen and respond.
When a team member needs guidance, a few well-placed questions should allow them to open up and fully explain their problem. Once you understand what is holding them back, you can offer your advice and support.
Regular one on one communication is one of the most valuable tools in your leadership bag. Getting the whole team together is not a bad idea, but it doesn’t replace taking the time to communicate individually with team members.
Not all people are equal, so it’s a mistake to assume that one set of instructions will reach everyone in the same way.
You must be able to provide clear instructions that each person can understand and explain to them what outcome you want to be achieved.
It’s no good simply saying, “I want more re-bookings”.
Instead, try “Sally, your re-booking rate is only 25%, and I need you to bring that up to 70% by the end of the month. This is how you can achieve that…”
Forget delivering feedback to your team as it can be (and usually is) viewed as criticism, and therefore be detrimental to your relationship with them.
Instead, use the feed-forward technique.
What is this? Well Executive Coach, Marshall Goldsmith came up with the concept.
In very simple terms it means that instead of focusing on what the person has done wrong in the past, you instead focus on what you want to see in the future, and then provide them with some suggestions on how to achieve it.
This is far more constructive and stops the past from being dredged up continuously.
Recognise Effort, Not Just Results
It’s not enough to simply recognise someone when they achieve a goal you have set for them. You must also recognise a sincere attempt to improve and reach a goal.
If you’ve ever looked after small children, you will know that what you praise you get more of.
Well, adults are a bit like little children too in this way. We also respond to positive re-enforcement.
So when you see someone who is making a genuine effort to do better, be sure to tell them that you’ve noticed, and congratulate them on their effort. Tell them to keep up the good work and they will.
Set A Better Example
Your team members watch your every move.
If you expect them to perform at a high standard in all things, then you too must adhere to this same high standard.
If you want them to turn up to work on time, then so should you.
If you want them to treat their clients like VIPs then you must too (and while you’re at it, you must treat your employees this way also).
If you slip in your standards, watch it flow out to everyone else in your business.
Telling isn’t enough.
You must also do.
I hope you found this quick overview of how you can improve your leadership skills, and create a stronger more productive workplace worth your time.
It may take a little effort on your part, but the rewards will definitely be worth it.