Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Managing your team… without losing your mind!

(Article written for Professional Beauty Magazine July 2009 issue)

Managing your team has absolutely got to be the toughest job of any salon owner or manager! I tell you, in my first years in business, there were days when I thought I was going to lose my mind! If it wasn't absenteeism it was lateness, if it wasn't lateness it was moaning and complaining about something or other.

Hoping that everyone else in the business would just use 'common sense' to get on with things was a big mistake! For example, there was a day when I walked into the salon to find one of the nail stations covered in nail filings, a used paper towel and an open bottle of cuticle oil, just lying there for all to see; and about three technicians doing nothing! Could it be that they didn't see it, or did they think it wasn't their job to tidy up after a service or could it be that to them it wasn't unsightly? At this point however, it is difficult to handle the situation in a rational manner; especially of you’re a bit hotheaded like me!

Well I learnt the hard way that people management, especially in a service driven business, is a tough job and that I needed to re-evaluate my skills and my approach... fast! The fact is that nobody (except a golden few) will love your business the way you do. You are the person to decide and, crucially, train your team in the ways of your salon. You might already know that and think that it is an obvious statement to make but what I am talking about is the very big difference between ad-hoc, on-the-spot, as-and-when training and the 'dishing-out' of instructions versus a structured training programme and mapped-out processes for your salon!

After my first year and on the verge of opening my second salon I decided to dedicate a few months to studying how stores like Topshop and Selfridges (where my shops were located) managed so many people; how they chose and brought new people into the business, the information and instructions new starters received, how daily tasks were completed, how responsibility was distributed and so on. I created station-start-and-end checks, staff handbooks that formed part of their contracts, a training programme, a salon operations manual, health & safety inductions, new-starter packs and more... and OMG how things changed for the better! Since then these documents and many more have been perfected and are available to you through www.misssalon.com.

So get organised and start to reap the rewards of an 'emotionally stable' team! Here are 3 things you can do today to get going:

1 - Choose the right people from the start! Have a clear and robust recruitment process that includes crucial criteria for every candidate. Be selective, image you are choosing a flatmate!

2 - Create a ‘task-rota’ so as to reduce the need for your daily input into delegation and empower the team to function without you.

3 - Have regular, inspiring team meetings to praise openly, check on the team and talk about the future and direction of the business.

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Good luck and be cool!
Ego Iwegbu-Daley