One of the top 3 issues salon owners tell me they have, is problems with the performance of their team members.

I often hear the questions, “Why don’t they see what I can see?” or, “Why don’t they do it the way I’d do it?”

It leaves them feeling frustrated and more than a little stressed.

The reality is that unless you have an identical twin, there’s a very good chance that no-one else is ever going to think exactly the way you do.

And even an identical twin who has grown up having different experiences during her life may well see things differently from you.

This is because the way we think is heavily influenced by the life we’ve lead and the experiences we’ve had.

An important fact to acknowledge is that if your team could see what you see, or do what you do; they wouldn’t be working for you.

Instead, they’d be out running their own salons and asking the very same questions as you do.

Once you come to understand and accept that your team members will never think or act like you, you’ll stop wasting your time wishing things were different, and instead begin to look for a solution.

And that solution lies in how you communicate with your team.

When you think about things from the team member’s perspective, it must be pretty frustrating for them also, when they just never seem to get it right.

They don’t enjoy a tense atmosphere within the salon any more than you.

But is it really all their problem, or as the team leader, should you be looking more closely at how effectively you communicate your message?

When speaking to a client the other day, she was complaining that one of her team members always turns up on the dot of her starting time.

This was driving her crazy, so I asked, “So what have you said to her about this?”

After a few seconds silence, her reply was “Nothing, but she should know better”.  “Why should she?” I asked.  “She just should; it’s common sense” was her reply.

I let that hang in the air for a minute waiting for her to think about those words, and to understand that her expectations were totally unrealistic.

You see, your team members are not mind-readers.

What is common sense to you, may seem illogical to your team members.

Your thoughts, ideas, and wishes don’t miraculously appear in their minds just because you want them to.

Instead, you must communicate effectively with your team, giving clear instructions and outlining specific requirements and desired outcomes.

It’s not good enough to say, “Your treatment room needs to be clean and tidy before you leave the salon”.

What ‘clean and tidy’ means to you, could be (and usually is) completely different for your team member.

Instead, you need to be specific and better still, have it in writing.

If your version of leaving the treatment room clean and tidy means:

  • Sweep the floor.
  • Mop the floor with hot water and detergent.
  • Clean the wax pots to remove excess wax.
  • Wipe down the bed and equipment to remove dust and dirty marks.
  • Change the bed linen and replace it with fresh linen laid out per the salon requirement.
  • Remove any dirty marks from the walls using xyz spray.

…then that is what you have to specifically relay to your team member.

Only once you’ve done this, can you expect to get the job done the way you want it to be done.

This written instruction then becomes a salon protocol and can be used with each team member as they start work in your salon.

Once you’ve created a written protocol, you only ever need to tweak it occasionally, instead of spending your precious time being frustrated about how your team members are leaving their treatment rooms.

Written protocols add a huge element of professionalism to your business, and provide your team members with clear instructions on what you expect of them.

Most team members want the boss to be happy with their work.

They want to be smiled at and come to work knowing that they are a valuable contributor to your success.

It’s simply unfair to expect them to think how you think, or to know what you know.

Their life experience is completely different to yours, and therefore they’re not in the same mental space as you are.

If they’ve trained in a different way or worked for multiple salons, then they can only draw on that experience in the workplace.

Once you understand this and accept that good results stem from the quality of the communication you provide, then you and your team members will all be much happier and more productive.

Written protocols are essential in every salon, and although they may take a little time to produce, they will save you many hours of frustration and anger, and probably result in much better staff retention and a far happier work environment.