How to Be a Good Manager and Salon Leader

When you look back at all the jobs you’ve had that got you to this point today, you’ll likely have thoughts about all your old managers along the way – some with warm, fuzzy feelings... and others with not-so-fond memories. As a salon owner, you’re not only marking your own exciting milestone when you start hiring, but you’re becoming a leader – a hugely impactful presence in the careers of your team. A good manager can make or break the salon vibe, and whether you’re hiring employee number one or 100, there’s always room for growth as a leader.

Read ahead for a few ways you can practice being a positive presence in the workplace as your leadership style evolves.

Put People First

There are many, many different styles of management, but no matter your managerial strategy it seems like one characteristic stands out above the rest when people think back on who their “Best Boss” was. According to a survey of over 80,000 respondents, the difference between a good manager and a great one is those who “discover what is unique about each person and then capitalize on it.”

It pays to take the time to understand each staff member as a person:

  • What are their individual goals as a salon pro?
  • What motivates them at work and beyond?
  • Where do they struggle most?

When you invest in getting to know your team as people and not just service providers, you’ll learn how to benefit from their strengths and keep your business running smoothly. Not to mention, you’ll earn their respect and understanding in return. When you show up for your people by putting them first, they'll in turn show up for your clients – and the entire business wins.

Look for even the smallest ways to let people shine. With GlossGenius’ Teams feature, you can show off your squad and give them their own place to shine on your salon booking website. There, they can add photos, a bio, and connect their social media links for a deeper connection with clients, and they won’t feel like another cog in the machine.

Focus on Development

Leadership isn’t just about the greater good. Taking time to focus on the development of the individuals involved in your business creates an environment where everyone feels valued and inspired to succeed. Carve out time every few months to schedule 1:1 check-ins and make sure everyone feels good about the work they’re doing and the path they're on within your business.

Foster a feedback-rich culture: It's essential to create a safe space for communication. Offer praise or constructive feedback regularly, and remember that feedback is a two-way street. As a leader, you want to employ an open-door policy that welcomes everyone to come to you with challenges, issues, or even complaints – but always encourage them to be proactive in bringing solutions to the table as well.

Empower employees to learn something new: Encourage your team to build new skills and practice new styles and experiment with new trends. If you’re able, you may even consider keeping a separate fund for select training opportunities that staff members can attend on behalf of the salon. Not only does having access to continued education empower each employee, it also helps support raising prices over time because you’re creating a roster of highly skilled providers for your clients to book.

Set Boundaries and Share Responsibilities 

Being in a leadership position puts you right in the middle of everyone’s wants and needs – you’ll be the one they all come to for problems, potential issues, and hopefully, some praise, too. All that attention can get overwhelming. In order to maintain a sense of sanity, you need to prioritize boundaries and work on mastering the art of graceful delegation.

Take a step back: Your business is your baby – totally understandable! And it can be hard to be hands-off when you’ve put your blood, sweat, and tears into building a brand. But when you hire the right people, take care to cultivate trust in your salon, and have the ability to track your business progress with the right salon systems in place, you never have to be the micromanager.

Taking a more hands-off approach on certain aspects of your salon also frees you up to do more of the things you love – whether that’s planning your next step in empire building, or taking on a few extra clients of your own that week. This is where delegation comes in.

Delegate, don’t dictate: You might be the boss, but you don’t have to be bossy. When delegating tasks, you’re not just handing off the things you don’t want to do – you’re creating an opportunity to give others more responsibility in a way that also helps them grow as professionals.

Delegation isn’t about barking orders. Rather, it’s about sharing the workload in a way that makes sense for your salon and staff. When you're handing off a task, be clear about what’s involved, offer any resources the team member might need, and encourage them to ask any questions along the way. It might seem scary to let someone else take the reins on something, but it will also save your sanity in the long run.

Respect everyone’s schedule: You’re not the only one with boundaries. Respecting your team’s personal life is something they’ll appreciate and remember every day they step into the workplace. Knowing they don't have to stress about work outside of scheduled hours, will keep them focused on performing to the best of their ability in the moment.

GlossGenius lets you bring your whole team on board under the same subscription and enables you to customize permissions that help you delegate, motivate, and inspire growth in the most respectful way possible.

Celebrate Team and Individual Wins

Beyond delegating, setting boundaries, and communicating respectfully, always make time to celebrate the wins – big or small, personal and professional. Doing so will encourage a positive environment that people enjoy being a part of and look to give their best.

Find recognition that works for your team: Celebrating doesn’t have to be a huge ceremonial undertaking, sometimes it’s just taking a moment to pull someone aside and let them know you see the growth, success, or talent they’re bringing to the team. Other times, a little public shoutout goes a long way. You can also fuel the spirit of friendly competition with a sales-driven contest or incentive-based benchmarks that reward winners with a cash bonus or sought-after prize.

Don’t keep it (only) professional: Not all celebrations have to be based on career accomplishments. Putting people first also means taking a second to sing happy birthday or set up a champagne toast for a staff member who may have just gotten married or shared a personal accomplishment with the team.

Most of all, a true leader is proud even when a team member moves on from the salon. If someone goes out on their own or shares new plans for their professional journey, be the person who empowers and supports them and you’ll quickly earn the title of “Best Boss Ever.”

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