4 Key Areas To Be A Successful Salon Leader
Stefanie Fox Jackson

Stefanie Fox Jackson

Beauty Industry Team Builder ✨ Advocating for salon owners & stylists to build successful, cultured long lasting

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The size of your team might not be aligned to your focus on personal growth as a leader, but the health and retention of your team is.  

Employees stick around for great leaders.

56% of stylists say that liking their manager greatly influences their decision to stay long term in a salon.

While recruiting is more challenging than ever it is still possible to scale your team size through some intentional efforts. The real barriers we face in the salon world come with how we can keep team members in the salon long term- and this is directly related to our actions as leaders. 

In a time where the uncertainty, changes, and general heaviness of the world seem to plague everyone, leaders who step into their personal development are more needed than ever. Your team needs you as their example and shining light when many things in their life feel uncertain.

Our teams look to the people guiding them as examples of how to embrace vulnerability, celebrate success, and overcome setbacks. 

I was recently reading an article on LinkedIn that talked about how great leaders use mistakes as an opportunity to help people grow and flourish- not as a time for punishment or reprimand.

The ability to do this as a leader requires that we are armed with a high level of emotional intelligence and that we are doing the work to feel safe responding in this kind of way. As a salon leader, I believe there are 4 key areas you should be continually focusing on to ensure you are building teams that want to stay with you long term. 

1. Be Authentic

Your team needs to see that you have also faced struggles and setbacks along your professional journey. Team members often idolize leaders and imagine them only as they are – successful.

As a leader, you can help your team succeed and build loyalty with them by sharing your struggles and challenges openly. Great leaders are not afraid to share their story of what it took to get to where they are. 

2. Communicate Well

A common conversation in the beauty industry is “how do I coach my team?”

There are loads of leadership styles and methodologies for how to give feedback but it can all be summed up in one way.

You’ve got to know how to give negative feedback in a way that doesn’t make people want to disengage.

To do this as a leader you have to be developing and honing your own communication skills. How can you get better at sitting down and getting to the root cause of a problem someone is having – their reason for not hitting a goal – without them feeling ashamed or embarrassed by their lack of achievement.

By focusing on key area #1, being authentic will allow you to improve your communication skills and become a better coach to your team.

3. Be Approachable

I think everyone I know has had a bad leader in their life.

A boss who was not approachable or made you feel nervous if you didn’t know something or do something right.

Great salon leaders should strive to be the exact opposite of that. You should be working hard to have your team thinking of you first when they need help figuring out a problem. This kind of approachability requires setting the example over and over, that you are a safe place for them to bring their questions. 

4. Embrace Vulnerability 

Vulnerability is something we often want and maybe even expect from our team members as leaders, but my experience working with salon leaders is that it is rarely easily returned.

This goes back to the first area of development I suggested. Be authentic! Your team is yearning to know how you got to where you are and as much as we like to imagine in our minds that it was easier for someone else than it feels for us the real stories often are the things that inspire us to keep pursuing our own goals.

As a salon leader, you should embrace this vulnerability and be willing to openly share your challenges, ask for help, and even apologize when it is needed. 

When we think about hiring today, we need to be cautious that we are not focusing so much on recruiting that we are losing sight of the work needed to keep staff around long term. Otherwise, our well-intended recruiting efforts will be in vain. 

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