If you are a salon manager, then there was a time when it was your first day in the job. And if you are not yet a salon manager, but aspire to be, then that first day as manager is yet to happen.

There are usually two possible scenarios of how first-time ‘salon managers’ start out.

The first is that they were made manager in an established salon that is owned by someone else.

The second is that they’ve opened a salon of their own and the title of ‘manager’ came with the keys to the door.

They are both very different scenarios, and they both bring their own unique challenges.

But either way being a successful manager isn’t easy. So, here are my top tips to help you become the best salon manager you can be.

Tip number one is: that it’s all about the people.

Being a salon manager is about dealing with both ‘things or situations’ and secondly it’s about dealing with people.

When I say, ‘things and situations’ I mean, the inanimate stuff. Like, “The washing machine is broken?” Or “The stock order hasn’t arrived?”

Whereas, when I say it’s about dealing with people, it’s stuff like, “A team member has called in sick… again” Or, “A team member needs to be spoken to about their appearance”.

Or it might mean, that “A team member needs to be spoken to because they have just had their best week ever”. Or a team member has just had another 5-star review on google, and is always going the extra mile when it comes to service”.

Dealing with the ‘Things and situations’ is not exciting, in fact, it can be boring! But it’s important and has to be done.

But dealing with the people issues can get very exciting! It’s often emotional. It can keep you up at night. It can also be stressful, unpredictable and full of surprises… Both good and not so good.

So tip number 1 is understanding that dealing with the ‘things and situations’ are inevitable, important, and part of the job. But to be a really successful manager, it’s all about the people!

Tip number two is: that It’s important to understand that a salon manager is not just a busy stylist

In other words, you don’t manage a team of people just by being the most productive person behind the chair, and think that they will blindly follow your lead.

Managing people takes time. You have to engage and connect with the people on your team.

You have to nurture and build relationships. You have to create trust and build rapport with the people on your team. And all that takes time.

As a salon manager, your role is that of a ‘team leader’.

Your real success is not about doing all the work yourself. Your real success is about your ability to build a team and to get others to be productive and happy stylists behind the chair.

Tip number 3, is that as the new salon manager it’s important that you don’t rush in and try and change everything overnight.

There is an expression, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”.

As a new manager, not everyone always wants you to succeed.

There may even be people on your team who for whatever reason want to come up against you and challenge your authority.

So my advice is that as a new manager, listen first. Watch. Observe. Ask questions, and get the team onside first… And then start looking at ways to bring about positive change.

Remember, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”.

Tip number 4 is: Be consistent.

As a new manager, for any number of reasons, it’s easy to have situations or people that you treat differently. …In a word, ‘don’t’.

Now, I am going to leave a small margin here for your discretion.

Because inevitably there will be a time when there may be a valid exception that you need to allow for…

But as a generalisation, when you start treating people or situations differently, then you are potentially creating problems for yourself later on.

They might be older. They might have more experience than you. They might intimidate you. They may even be a family member. Or they might be your friend outside of work.

But when you have favourites, when you have one rule for this person and another rule for someone else you are undermining the level of respect and authority they have for you as a manager.

Tip number 5 is: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

Many people that are a first-time salon manager are essentially just dropped in the deep end without any training or support, and they’re expected to figure it out.

Obviously, that’s the wrong way to go about it.

Being a manager involves skills that you have to learn, just like you learn how to cut and colour hair. You also have to learn how to be a manager.

It takes time. You will make mistakes. You will question yourself as to whether you have what it takes for the job.

So don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Whether that’s advice from a colleague, a coach, a mentor, a family member or an online community, don’t be afraid to seek the advice of others.

Listen to their opinions. Reflect on their observations. Be prepared to change your own mind.

But as long as you ask for the advice from someone whose opinions you respect then in all probability it’s going to help you grow and develop as a manager.

So that’s it. That’s my top 5 tips for the first time salon manager.

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