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How to Manage Hair Stylists


As a salon owner or salon manager, one of the trickiest aspects of your job may be staff management and like in any business, stylists need leadership. In a creative industry like the beauty biz, there are bound to be a number of knowledgeable, fun, opinionated and vocal people who are drawn to the work. It can be a lot of fun to interact with such a diverse group of personalities, but it can also be a task that requires a great deal of patience and finesse. Building a strong working environment in which employees feel supported, yet free to express themselves, is a real balancing act. However, when it’s done successfully, it can go a long way toward creating everyday harmony and smooth operations within the salon and between employees. Having everyone get along, for the most part, will make your life so much easier and that sense of bonding and cohesiveness among the staff will spill over into how your clients perceive the atmosphere and professionalism of your salon. Follow these tips for how to manage stylists in order to create a team that works well together.

Forget the Iron Fist
In a salon environment, it’s not wise to approach management as though you were running a corporate outfit or Fortune 500 company. This is a creative industry. Your staff will be artistic individuals who appreciate having some freedom and individuality in their work. You don’t want to implement an abundance of rules that make your staff feel squelched or micromanaged.Create a Culture
Decide what’s most important to you in the culture of your salon. What kind of image do you want to portray? Do you want to be seen as an upscale salon providing the latest and trendiest styles? Or would you rather portray yourself as a cozy neighborhood beauty parlor where everyone dresses casually and feels at home? Decide on the image you want to portray and them emphasize it in your policies. Let your guiding mission indicate the dress code of your employees, the ways in which staff interact with clients and the sense of teamwork that is instilled in your stylists.

Emphasize Professional Development
The cosmetology field is constantly growing and changing. There are new trends, styles, techniques and tools being introduced each season. If you want to remain competitive, you’ll need to provide your staff with opportunities for professional development and training, either in-house or elsewhere. Training doesn’t have to be a chore. Be sure to communicate to your staff the benefits of professional development and learning new skills. Let them know that such things will help them to grow as professionals and will increase the success of the salon, which is good for everyone. Your attitude will lead to a sense of pride among the staff in their growing talents and skills.

Keep Communication Open
Along these same lines, you’ll want to let the stylists know that you value communication. This starts with you being communicative with them about policies, expectations, performance feedback and expectations. Encourage communication and schedule regular staff meetings so that everyone is on the same page. At these meetings, problems or issues can be aired, and you can make sure everyone is on the same page. About once a month should be plenty.

Be Consistent With Discipline
Develop policies across the board and stick with them. Show your staff that you intend to implement the rules equally with every member of the salon team. Never play favorites, as this will create animosity and will break down the spirit of your team. Also, be sure that the repercussions for any infractions are clearly spelled out and followed to the letter. If your staff knows what to expect if they don’t follow the rules, they will be more likely to comply.

These are just a few tips for how to manage stylists in your salon. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that every member of your team is an individual and wants to be treated as such. Maintaining communication and allowing them to grow and learn in a supportive environment where they know what to expect will take you far in creating a harmonious work atmosphere.

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