Dealing with the Staffroom TerroristLife is too short to put up with people on your team who suck the joy from the salon the minute they walk through the door. But nearly every salon has had one at some point or other. They often start out as reasonable individuals, but all too soon they start to run amok, destroying team morale and poisoning everyone in their path. Perhaps they have an inflated opinion of their own creativity, their importance, their value. Left unchecked they will do untold damage to the team, the brand and the bottom line.

Typically, the staffroom terrorist lacks the courage to change behaviour, the respect to follow the salon leader and the common sense to see the damage being done to his or her own reputation. But why do salon leaders allow it to happen? Does being creative mean everyone else has to accept the super-ego that drives these staffroom terrorists? Nothing could be further from the truth, and the best salon leaders do not tolerate it.

It is tempting to react on the spot to the latest tantrum or backstabbing, but that could lead to legal action and a hefty payout. It’s much better to step up to the plate and start managing the individual. After all, it’s often the hands-off approach that has allowed the monster to develop.

· Start setting parameters – identify particularly troublesome behaviour and, if they overstep the mark, react.

· Challenge any negative behaviour.

· Don’t get drawn into discussing the individual with other team members.

· Be consistent. Don’t ignore infringements one day and then react the next.

· Try to be positive and coach the individual so he or she understands how to behave better.

· Document every problem starting from today.

· Follow salon procedure from verbal to written warnings – dot all the ‘i’s and cross all the’t’s so, should the worst happen, you back is covered.

· Be prepared for the worst. Firing someone is hard; it’s especially hard firing a team member who is popular with clients and brings in the money. But at the end of the day, being a good manager and salon leader means making difficult decisions. You have to look at the bigger picture, and that means thinking of the whole team, not just one individual.

Following the first seven points is the best way to avoid having to do the eighth, because leading a first-class team can only be done by a first-class manager. And first-class managers make clear to the whole team what is and what isn’t acceptable in the salon and challenge anyone who behaves differently.

About Antony Whitaker

Antony Whitaker is the ultimate educator and motivator, with a worldwide reputation based on more than 30 years’ experience in the hairdressing industry. An award-winning stylist-turned-educator, business coach and best-selling author, he has taken his message on management, money, marketing, team-building and retailing to more than 250,000 hairdressers in 40-plus countries. His next series of seminars begins this March in the UK and Ireland.  His latest book, GROW 3: TEAM, the next instalment in his GROW series, has just been published and is available online at You can also sign up for his regular free newsletter packed full of tips, hints and lessons on how to run a successful, profitable business at

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