Stepping Up From Stylist to Salon Manager

by sophieh / last updated March 26, 2008

Management training specialist Karrin Lawrence, founder of Pure Clarity Ltd, has some helpful advice for stylists thinking of making the step up to salon manager.

What characteristics make a good manager?
The most important characteristic a manager should have is the ability to be honest and show emotional consistency in everything they do.

Clear, open communication alongside a level temperament means people know exactly what to expect from you. Having people walking on eggshells until they know what kind of mood you are in that day, does not build team trust, or open up clear communications.

Are these attributes that can be learnt?
Absolutely! Everything we do is a skill, and all skills can be learnt if the motivation is present.

What should a potential manager consider before applying for, or accepting, a management position?
There are three main points to consider:

  1. Do they know each job role within their business?
  2. Do they understand how to identify when a person is not fulfilling their role effectively, and, do they have the tools to do that?
  3. Can they then discuss this with the person involved clearly and without blame or judgement?

Most people can do the first two, but not many people can do the third task well and easily.

In my coaching, I call this being respectful over being courteous. Being courteous and polite can make people feel good, but it doesn’t change anything effectively in the workplace.

Being respectful means having to tell someone something they may not want to know or hear. This could range from raising awareness of poor skills, bad hygiene or a lack of teamwork. This isn’t an easy task to do without sounding as though you are attacking someone.

If you are being promoted from the salon shop floor to a management position with your team, could you do this?

How can being promoted to manager affect relationships with the team?
Managing people changes the dynamic in the salon. While in your mind you may not think anything has changed, your team will view you as a different person. So another consideration before becoming a manager is whether you can work without the approval of others.

If you like Saturday nights out with your team, and you enjoy a good gossip with them, then maybe you’re not quite ready to move into a management role just yet.

How can you ease the transition from team member to manager?
The best scenario is to gain the full support of your team, and ensure they think your promotion is a good thing. In this case, I would say gently does it.

Take your role seriously, but one day at a time. No major boat rocking, but do start as you mean to go on. Having an introduction to your role in a team meeting is a good way for you to think about what you want for your team, and how you would like your team to use you.

For example, you could state your intentions for your team, and how best you would like to see the salon grow. You could ask your team what they would like for the salon, and how they would like you to support them in achieving that?

All salon owners will have business goals they want to fulfil and as a manager you have a responsibility to help make that happen. You also need the team to set their own goals within that vision to make it happen.

As a newly-promoted manager just asking the team what they would like for themselves is a good way for you to understand how you will make the vision a reality.

How do you deal with team members who aren’t happy with your promotion?
I would have a quiet word with them, and ask them how they feel about it. Do not put words into their mouths, just give them the opportunity to be able to speak about it and maybe even sound-off a little.

You might just learn something really useful about yourself that you can then change and improve. Being a manager will have people revealing your shortcomings too, and rather than reject them, learn from them.

Once they have had their say, they may realise that it was your boss’s choice to promote you, not yours, and being very open and honest with them may be enough for them to work it through.

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