Leadership isn’t easy. Whether you’re a leader in the finance or beauty industry, effective leadership often determines a company’s success or failure. “If there’s issues in the business, then take a look in the mirror,” says Jamie Sea, owner and founder of SALT Society hair salon, in her Hair Goals podcast episode “How to Build Confidence as a Salon Owner.”
As a result, salon owners are encouraged to take a closer look at the skills needed to effectively lead a team, as well as run a successful, long-term business. If you’re interested in learning more about salon leadership, here’s a closer look at what it looks like, what skills are needed, and why trust is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle.
What Does Salon Leadership Look Like?
Successful salon leadership can come in all shapes and sizes. From landing a new client through effective client communications, to finding innovative ways to increase salon profitability, beauty entrepreneurs are breaking ground in their given fields.
“Business is always going to have its ups and downs though,” says Sea. How salon owners and independent stylists react to these ebbs and flows is a true testament to their leadership skills. “If you're experiencing problems in your business,” Sea continues, “remember that as the leader you are a mirror image of what you could be doing better or implementing differently.”
However, this self reflection can be incredibly difficult for salon owners who already feel the unmistakable pressure to succeed. “For me, it came down to not taking things so personal anymore,” Sea says. “Now, anytime someone comes up to me and says something, I'm like, ‘How can I do it better?’”
Top 5 Leadership Skills Every Successful Salon Owner Needs
The ability to openly receive feedback is definitely an important quality of effective leadership, but certainly isn’t the only skill you need to lead a team. If you’re struggling with leading your team, here are some of the most important leadership skills every successful salon owner needs.
Communication is a pivotal skill that leaders need in any business—especially the service industry. Salon owners and independent stylists need to maintain constant and consistent communication with their clients and team members if they hope to retain both long-term. Effective communication skills can aid in customer retention and client satisfaction.
No one can run a business on their own. Therefore, delegation is a necessary skill that leaders need to prevent burnout and ensure long-term success. Delegation can take many forms in the salon industry. While many owners hire additional stylists and staff, automated systems are another tool that can be leveraged for tasks such as client bookings, cancellation requests, and promotional emails.
Leaders need passion if they hope to inspire both their team and their business. Doing what you love isn’t just about enjoying what you do, but also ensuring you’re able to share your passion with your team and even your clientele. If you don’t feel passionate about your business, it will ultimately be reflected in its success.
4. Time Management
Just how leaders need to understand the importance of delegation skills, they also need to have a firm grasp on time management. While the two are closely related, leaders need time management skills to ensure that all tasks are completed in a timely manner—and yes, that includes delegated and automated tasks as well.
As one of the most underrated leadership skills, trust is an essential part of effective management. “When you're building any confidence as a salon owner,” says Sea, “it really comes down to trusting yourself and trusting others. That’s the biggest thing.” Not only are leaders required to foster an environment of trust, they should also practice it themselves.
Who Should Leaders Trust?
Trust is important to effective leadership, but it’s important to understand who deserves a leader’s trust. Here are the two groups that salon owners should build a strong relationship with if they hope to succeed in their business.
As a salon owner, chances are you have a team that supports various aspects of the business, including stylists, administrative personnel, and even marketing professionals. In order for leaders to effectively delegate tasks to team members, there needs to be a level of trust between them and their team. “If you trust your team and your decision making,” says Sea, “you’ll be more receptive to feedback. And as a result, you’re 100% going to be the person that gives everyone what they need to succeed.”
While this might sound self-explanatory, leaders must be able to trust themselves if they hope to run a successful business. “Learning to trust yourself can be really challenging,” Sea assures, but even the most successful leaders experience these struggles. Sea talks about her own struggles with self trust. “I was going through anxiety, depression, postpartum depression, and just a lack of trust within my decision making. Looking back, I can see the huge role that played in my business.”
The root cause of self doubt often stems from accepting so much feedback, opinions, and other forms of information from others, that it clouds your own thoughts and decisions. While leaders should be receptive to everyone’s thoughts and feelings, they need to trust their own decision-making when it comes to the bigger picture, high stakes situations.
Start Effectively Leading Your Salon
Leadership skills aren’t something you’re born with, but they are something you can develop. There are plenty of resources available to any salon owner who wants to build these essential competencies. For example, SALT Society’s community is a wonderful source of information, community support, and real-world advice.
Take the first step in becoming a leader in the beauty industry and join SALT Society’s community for empowerment and education!