Happy leaders | Polly Rose

November 15, 2023

Grace Salon Leadership was founded in 2019 by me, Polly Rose, a multi-salon owner for over 35 years!

My mission is to inspire salon leaders to live their happiest lives and to lead with kindness to create a great salon culture and successful business where everybody feels they can be their best selves. I believe people do their best work by thriving in an environment that recognises, accepts and celebrates the differences within the team. In this series, I hope I have helped you in some way to become a happy leader…

Leaders are not born leaders, we evolve and grow into leadership. Great leaders recognise that they are in a privileged position and take care of the people that they lead. I don’t teach people to lead in this way because it’s good to be kind (although it is!), I teach people to lead in this way because it gets results.

As a leader, performance is at the top of our agenda. It is your task to attract, develop, engage, inspire and retain the people that make up that team. Earning the trust of your people has to be the top priority for any leader. So often, performance issues are actually a result of deeper trust issues.

Here are the most effective ways to rebuild trust in your salon:

Show your team that you care. Connect on a human level and build rapport. Show empathy and understanding towards their concerns and feelings. Have their interests in mind, not just your own, when you make decisions.

Change your vocabulary. Use words such as ‘we’ ‘us’ and ‘together’ instead of ‘I’ ‘me’ and ‘my’. Your actions must align with your words, so say what you mean and mean what you say.

Be honest and straightforward with your team. Before you commit to something be sure you can fulfil it. If you make promises, keep them and act on them to earn confidence.

Ensure your people have confidence in you and your ability to lead. You will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient knowledge, judgment and skill to be competent in your role

Take responsibility for your actions and decisions. Be willing to admit your mistakes and work towards solutions, demonstrating accountability for your leadership. Recognise that you are not always the smartest person in the room.

Delegate effectively. This demonstrates trust in your team’s abilities, which in return boosts morale.

Build a ring of protection around your people and business. We can’t control the constant threats that salons face from the outside world – such as the cost-of-living crisis – but we can reduce and control the dangers inside the ring. It is the leader’s responsibility to look out for those inside and encourage them to look after each other.

If you are new to leadership or moving to a salon with low trust, you must be totally clear and explain that trust is your absolute priority. It takes time, so start with the small stuff and build on it. Listen to everyone; understand and show respect for what you hear from anyone in the team. Every conversation we have – whether in person or by video, phone, email or text – is a chance to reinforce trust. It’s important to be very aware of what you say and do.

The quickest way to inspire trust throughout your salon is to give trust. The difference between trusting your people and asking them to earn your trust is vast, and the psychological impact on their performance is huge. Without trust, your leadership will fail, and your people will act only to protect and promote themselves.

The good news is that trust is a leadership behaviour that can be learnt and built upon; the more you practise trust, the better your results will be.

Good luck x

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