How do you practice effective leadership in your salon?
Jen: Leading by example. My expectations of my team members are to deliver the highest level of guest care in a professional setting. I represent that in our salon initiatives and interactions with our guests and team, while working synergistically with my other leaders for their involvement.

Sarah: By meeting with our team members on a regular basis, communicating their goals and having fierce conversations, my partner Christy and I can coach them, provide inspiration and support them in their personal and professional journeys.

Venessa: As a service provider, I lead by example. I don't ask or expect my team to do anything that I do not do. But as an owner I wear many hats, so I have solid systems in place that allow my team to be successful.

Heather: The key to my leadership style is constant communication between our leaders and staff. Clearly communicating our vision, our goals, and our mission is what keeps the team focused.

Polignones: We discuss our expectations with our employees and confirm them. We tell them our objectives and then follow through with our promises. It's that straight talk and transparencies in our leadership and business model that makes us effective leaders.
Which three words do you think describe a strong leader?
Jen: Someone who listens, empowers and coaches.
Sarah: Committed, passionate, optimistic
Venessa: Integrity, vision, commitment
Heather: Confident, no compromise, genuine
Polignones: Engaged, passionate and committed
Do you discuss with your employees the importance of leadership in salon meetings?
Jen: I have had the pleasure of going through Steven Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I taught this course over several months to my team and I reward the behaviors I expect by giving recognition in our team meetings.

Sarah: Absolutely! Our team is hand-picked for their commitment and passion for their craft. We demonstrate with our team the importance of knowledge, communication and confidence.

Venessa: In our staff meetings we positively focus on strengthening our business brand by how we serve our guests through the guest experience and education.

Heather: We continue to stress the importance of leadership in our monthly salon celebrations. We recently held a round-table for our coaches and gave them an opportunity to learn from each other and share ideas, which in return made them stronger leaders with a voice.

Polignones: All employees are empowered to become leaders. We discuss in our meetings the importance of being responsible for taking the lead to reach their personal goals and to praise their fellow employee's strengths.
How do you encourage your employees to take initiative?
Jen: I always reassure them that I will back them up with whatever decision they make. I support my team members to take action, but I think self-discovery is the best way to learn their role.

Sarah: By discovering where their passion lies, we can help them develop their career paths, so they are able to have direction, achieve their goals and grow.

Venessa: We provide them with the necessary tools in their tool kit to do the job, and then we ask them to take ownership of their work.

Heather: During our monthly one-on-one coaching sessions we try to bring out the leadership qualities in all of our key employees. We hold our employees accountable for their growth which depends on them taking initiative as well.

Polignones: We have quarterly performance reviews that are tied to each employee's personal and financial success. We monitor their progress and give suggestions on how to reach outside their comfort level.
Who is the leader in the salon?
Jen: The entire management team.
Sarah: That lies within everyone.
Venessa: We have many leaders on our team.
Heather: The vision of our salon comes from the owner. However, it takes our entire Leadership Team to make that a reality.
Polignones: Our leadership team is composed of eight employees from various departments.
Is there a senior management structure in your salon?
Jen: Patrick Thompson is the owner of our salon. As the salon director, I am responsible for running day-to-day business operations. Within the salon, I created a leadership management team to provide structure to the salon team.

Sarah: Yes. We happen to be in a fortunate situation where my expertise lies in the spa, one of my business partners is in the salon, and the other is in the business/financial department.

Venessa: In day-to-day operations we have managers who oversee any challenges that may arise.

Heather: Our structure is as follows: owner, director of operations, manager, team leaders, coaches.

Polignones: We have a 2-tired senior management structure in our salon. Our leadership team is composed of eight employees who make and manage policies. Then their decisions are passed to a smaller management team that reviews the financial and logistic requirements for the implementation process.

Leadership in Action
Jen Lewis

Salon Operations Director, Nurtur the Salon, Columbus, OH

Leadership in Action
Sarah Wisda
Co-owner, Aura Salon & Day Spa, Scottsdale, AZ

Leadership in Action
Venessa Lanier
Owner, Salon/Spa Venessa, Woodstock, GA

Leadership in Action
Heather Hazlett
Director, Operations, Spa Bleu, West Dundee, IL

Leadership in Action
Pete and Sheri Polignone
Owners, Rituals Salon-Spa, Midlothian, VA

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