Salon Owner and Eufora Business Trainer Jill Higginbotham suggests questions owners can ask employees guided by her S.O.S. Leadership style.

Salon Owner and Eufora Business Trainer Jill Higginbotham suggests questions owners can ask employees guided by her S.O.S. Leadership style. 

Leadership is a rewarding and challenging role. Successful leadership requires commitment and continuing education. Many salon owners find leadership the most difficult part of the job, voicing common concerns such as management and people skills.

Successful salon owner, and Eufora Business Trainer, Jill Higgenbotham, admits that over the years she has made many mistakes when leading her team and probably lost some great team members as a result.  Determined to hone her own leadership skills, she asked herself the one question that changed her management style for good.

“How can I lead in a way that encourages people to feel heard, understand expectations, and feel supported?” was the springboard for the development of her own leadership system, which has evolved through years of trial and error, including reading, and listening to, the best advice the beauty industry has to offer.  

Today, Higgenbotham refers to her system as S.O.S Leadership, and openly shares with other salon owners the three simple caveats behind the acronym.

  • S for Socratic Leadership.  The art of asking questions to lead an individual to a solution.
  • O for Open. The courage to speak openly and honestly with all team members.
  • S for Servant Leadership. Knowing how to engage with, help and support individual team members and the collective team.

When asked for advice how to employ S.O.S. Leadership, Higgenbotham provided the following examples of how she has used it in her salon. 

Socratic. “Your rebooking rate is at 45%, what do you think you can do to improve that?  What obstacles are you facing?”  Questions like these will spark conversation, and more open-ended questions help lead the team member to finding the solution.

Open. “In order to be promoted, your rebooking needs to be around 75%.  Those are the expectations we both agreed to when you were hired; to ensure your success we need to get you there.” This is an honest, open communication and a reminder of expectations.

Servant. “How can I support you?  Is there a system we can put in place to better help you achieve the goal? Would you like to practice the rebooking script?” This conversation positions you as a leader who would like to mentor and serve, so the team member feels supported when it comes to growth and goal achievements.

Higgenbotham suggests all salon owners struggling to communicate with their team give S.O.S. a try.  The system has a proven track record of success, and, most importantly, it guides leaders to a better understanding of their role, often sparking fresh and innovative solutions. The number one benefit? “Ultimately, S.O.S. leads to a great team culture. My team knows I will support them and that I have their back when it comes to achieving their goals!” says Higgenbotham.

For salon owners interested in learning more about leadership and salon success, Higgenbotham invites owners to join in the monthly Eufora Salon Owner Network meetings, or check out additional business education offerings online at

About Eufora: In a category that is crowded with rampant brand over promising, the Eufora voice stands out as honest, real, and personal.   It takes its cues from the vision of company founders, Don and Beth Bewley, who, in 1997, started a hair care company built on a foundation of passion, integrity and caring for the professional salon world. Today Eufora is recognized globally for a vision that extends beyond the innovation of people and planet friendly products, delivering on a promise to provide incomparable programs to nurture the next generation of salon professionals.  

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