I get asked all the time by salon and beauty spa owners how they can make their team more accountable. It’s totally understandable because it’s not something we’re taught in the normal career and business journey. It’s a leadership skill rather than a skill that’s innate in our craft as a beautician, hairdresser or therapist.
While I’d love to say there is one secret you need to know to master this, I’d be lying to do so. It’s the small things, lots of small things that you need to take on board. What I can say with absolute confidence though, is that if you do master the art of leading your team, then your chances of business success will increase dramatically.
The problem is exacerbated if you are still ‘hands on’ in the business doing client facing work. The temptation to take on the workload will be especially high if you are your own star performer and others on the team can’t match you in terms of output. They may not be as fast as you. Or as consistent with their standard of work.
That’s a problem you can only fix by stepping back and elevating your team. Until you put more focus on the team than the tools, the problem will continue.
So here are 4 of my key tips to help you down that path. You can read them below, or listen to them on the Beauty Think Tank podcast, or, because you are one of the smart ones, you can of course do both :-).
1 – Make Expectations Known. Make Expectations Visible
To make someone accountable for something they first have to know what that something is, what the impact will be on them to get it done, and how they can actually do what’s required.
If you want them to achieve targets – financial, sales, client numbers, client rebookings…, these need to be made visible. Not buried in a report that they have to extract from a software system but visible and up front where they can’t be avoided. Front of eyes is front of mind after all. Document the expectations and put them on display.
While you are at it, make the values and standards of the business visible also. After all, these represent expectations also. They determine the expected behaviours of all the team members.
It’s one thing to bury these in the business procedures manual (you do have a procedures manual don’t you?) where they only get looked at when someone starts with you but it’s another to have them on display as a constant reminder. Not just a reminder but also a source of pride to know that they are part of something important.
2 – Create A Communication Rhythm With Your Team
Meetings can be a drag but not having meetings is an even bigger drag, on the whole business. A regular pattern of meetings, with the whole team and members individually, is essential. If you don’t have them, the business will just settle into a rhythm of its own – a slowly descending spiral towards mediocrity, instead of an upward climb towards excellence.
If you don’t have one already, set up a team calendar that everyone can see and have access to. Use this to mark holidays and events and to mark quite clearly when your regular meetings are. It’s ok to shift one or two meetings from time to time but the rhythm itself is essential.
Key point here is that we’re not talking about long drawn out meetings. A ten minute catch up with a clear agenda of no more than three items to clear roadblocks and raise standards is fine. What are we stuck on and what can we do better? Simple as…
Make sure people walk away with any action items they are accountable for. Not a massive list (unless it’s a specific project), just a few key things that have clearly defined outcomes and timeframes.
Whether it’s a team meeting or a one-on-one meeting the rules are the same.
Performance reviews and personal development catchups are the exception as far as timing goes (more on this in the next point). These should still be regular but they should not be rushed. They should also not be stretched out.
I say again, regular meetings do not have to be a drag. Follow the tips above and you’ll find that you actually enjoy them…
3 – Ensure Everyone Has A Personal Development Plan
Everybody likes to ‘do better’, no matter how laid back they might seem about these things. The more you support your team to do better, the better they will become.
A personal development plan does take effort but the rewards always exceed the effort dramatically.
Keep the plan to 4 key areas:
- Values. The values of the business don’t have to replicate the values of the team member but they should at least align in some way or have some relationship to each other. Work together to see this is reflected in the plan and give them the basis to make their work with you purposeful. Without that you’ve just got a warm body turning up to collect a pay cheque each week. Not ideal, even if they are meeting their targets.
- Behaviours. These are values in action and should reflect the standards that have been agreed to by all.
- Contribution. What does the role of the team member require them to do and what are the measurables (targets) that determine if it’s being done effectively or not?
- Development opportunities. Agreements on what skills are to be developed and how.
Review the plan with your team member quarterly at least but monthly is more ideal.
Focus on targets and finding out if the team member needs support with theirs. If they aren’t reaching them ask them why they think that might be. Set the tone of a check-in rather than an interrogation.
And if they are exceeding targets, have them contribute to setting higher and more challenging targets. Each new level of achievement becomes a benchmark to establish what the next level will look like.
And if there isn’t a pattern of continuous improvement, then that tells you if there is a deeper problem you need to look at. It may mean engaging a coach for you and/or your team member to reverse this (let me know if you need help with that).
Remember it’s a development plan and not a management plan. Management plans are tiresome and don’t yield great results.
4 – Have Adult To Adult Conversations With Your Team
If the relationship with your team members is akin to a parent child relationship, you’ll just create a culture of co-dependency, with you playing the part of the nagger and the team member playing the role of the under performer who constantly needs to be told what to do (and who doesn’t do it). No one wins in this scenario.
Adult to adult conversations are constructive. They yield really positive outcomes and everyone will enjoy the situation a whole lot more. You need to set the tone as a leader and put time and energy into thinking about the conversations that you have.Think about the outcomes you want for your team members, and then lead them.
And if you don’t quite know how to do that, get some support so that you can put yourself into a really effective leadership opportunity (you know where to find me if you need help with that :-).
The Only Way Is Up
Once you start to lead your team and make them accountable for the role that they’re there to do, you will actually enjoy the business a whole lot more and the financial rewards will absolutely come. I can promise you that 100%.
You will also enjoy higher retention rates among your staff. Nothing kills the morale of the team faster than high staff turnover.
But it’s not just staff retention that will go up. Client retention will go up with it. Clients love consistency and if the same quality team is delivering the same quality work each time, they will keep coming back, sometimes with friends and loved ones in tow.
This type of leadership can’t be done if your stuck on the face to face client work though. Put at least an hour a week aside and really think about what you’ve got planned for your team this week. What do you really want them to achieve? How are you going to step up and lead them this week? And really start to put some critical thinking behind the actions that you take as a leader with your team.
Onwards and upwards!