Management Practices

What's Your Leadership Style?

Victoria Wurdinger | July 10, 2011 | 5:13 PM
Understanding your leadership style, by building on strengths, and addressing weaknesses, is one of the easiest ways to get everyone on board with attainable goals.

It’s common for most of your clients to be similar to you in age, taste and lifestyle. But if your entire team is just like you—with the same abilities and leadership style—your business could be stymied. Jeanine O’Neill-Blackwell, founder of inyu training in Covington, Louisiana (an online training resource for salons and spas), has been coaching corporate and salon professionals for decades. Using the renowned 4MAT Learning Type Measure, which determines leadership styles, she has assessed thousands of industry professionals. She says more than 65 percent of salon pros are 4MAT Types 3 or 4, while 65 percent of spa pros are Types 1 and 2. In short, most salons need more data-driven personalities who will bring structure, work the numbers and use systems to boost productivity.

“To move to the next level, salon owners should build on their strengths and bring in the right people to complement their weaknesses,” says O’Neill-Blackwell. “The key to growing a business is applying the right leadership approach at the right time. If you are a visionary leader, there is a point at which strong managerial skills need to be added to the mix to grow to the next level. Knowing when and how to do this is vital.”

She adds that Type 1 strengths must be constantly present to build a team, and the strengths of Types 3 and 4 are musts for growing the business. The strengths of Type 2 are critical for building structures and systems.

What type of leader are you? Where are your strengths, and where do you need help (“stretches” in 4MAT lingo)? Check out the 4MAT Leadership Style chart to determine which of the four types best represents you.

What's Your Leadership Style?

Once you know your type, getting results, addressing any challenge and getting all learning types committed to a goal involves moving through each of the favorite questions of the four types, says O’Neill-Blackwell: the “why,” “what,” “how” and “if” (what would that look like if…). “We train leaders and trainers in many Fortune 500 companies to use this technique, and we’ve uniquely adapted it to the beauty business,” she adds. “We’ve has done all the work of applying 4MAT to everything from staff meeting guides to productivity to planning sessions.”

How’s it work? The best way to understand how you can leverage your strengths, boost your abilities and integrate other types into your team is to follow the stories of four different types of salon owners and discover their incredible payoffs:

The People-Focused Leader
The Process-Focused Leader
The Productivity-Focused Leader
The Possibility-Focused Leader

Exclusive Online Offer for Salon Today Readers
Are you ready to lead an interactive staff meeting with your team, using the 4MAT Learning Type Measure? Download your free guide so you can:
• Discover your team’s strengths.
• Use the interactive exercises to build your team and enhance communication.
Visit to download your free guide and purchase the Learning Type Measure to assess your team.
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