A long-standing salon insurance customer of Salon Gold, Hellen Ward shares with us her tips for managing your team effectively.
In such a labour intensive industry, keeping hold of key team members has never been more important. But in my lengthy 30-year career of managing people, I’ve learnt that what our teams want from us is not always what we think it is. The statistic that I’m most proud of in our business is our length of staff service. Our staff retention level is over three times the industry average of 4 years length of service – by contrast, our senior team have been employed by us for around 13 years. That’s an impressive total, and one that is never lost on clients. In fact, it’s something we market very effectively as it says a lot about our business. So, we must be doing something right – but what I attribute that strength to might be surprisingly revealing. If asked, most of my team would say that they respect me. They don’t have to like me, because being the boss means you can’t always be liked. Think back to who your favourite school teacher was and it won’t necessarily be the one that let you get away with the most! Follow my six-step guide to being a great people manager and reap the rewards in your own business:
Be consistent… always
Being a manager means you can’t be erratic. Have you ever flown and not been shown how to fasten your seatbelt? No, I thought not. Because we expect that to happen. We know we can’t smoke in the toilets, but we still get told we can’t in the safety briefing. It’s the same with our teams; we need to ensure we say the same thing time and again (no matter how many times we say it!). People like consistency – they like to know where they stand. We can’t pick people up on something one day that we are willing to let slide the next. It confuses people and makes us look like poor managers.
Be friendly… but not friends
People need you to manage, lead, encourage and develop them. They certainly would rather have a proper professional relationship with you than a personal one. I’m happy to have a drink in the pub then know when it’s appropriate to take my leave. My team don’t need me to be their friend. They want me to be their boss – and be a good one, to boot!
Be diligent… get back to people
One of the biggest bugbears employees have is that they’ve raised an issue which is important to them and nobody else seems to find it important too. If someone takes the time and trouble to give feedback, or raise something that requires dealing with, then pay them the courtesy of getting back to them before they have to remind you. Manners are important for any team, and being conscientious is vital.
Be nurturing … mentor and empower
I’ve long realised that instead of trying to create 100 perfect people, I’m far better off promoting and marketing each person’s strengths and forget about correcting their weaknesses. It’s a duty of care any good boss should have, to help people reach their maximum earning potential and develop the future generation of talent. Mentoring and empowering the team is the best bit of my job, and the one that pays the most dividends financially in the long term.
Be fair… but firm
There are always two sides, however thin you slice it. Being fair is vitally important. But so is being firm… having favourites is a no-go area. Of course, we’re human and there are people who you will warm to more than others, but you have to make sure that nobody in the team could figure out who they are.
Be grateful… notice things
The power of the thank you is universal. Notice little things the team do that are above and beyond and they will do more of them. End of.
Keeping a team happy is ultimately a necessity for any successful business, but a quick spot-check to make sure we know what they want from us as bosses is never a bad exercise to undertake.