Salon Leadership Series Part 1: Leaders Are Influencers

Salon leadership is a hot topic because building a loyal team and a positive culture depends on our ability to lead and develop the leaders within. Throughout the coming months we are going to take you through a series of leadership principles starting with the first principle—leaders are influencers.

Influencer is such a buzzword in today’s culture. When we think of the word influencer, we often think about someone attractive, cool, dynamic and popular. However, we are going to dive into what it really means to have influence. The definition of influencer is “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something—or the effect itself.” How do we unpack this and apply it to salon leadership?

It Starts with You
The first person we must influence is ourselves. Before we can lead others, we have to become leaders of our own lives. It’s not about earning the right to be heard, though that is absolutely a factor. Rather, it is hard to impart what you do not possess. For example, if we had debt up the wazoo, we wouldn’t be equipped to teach others about budgeting or living a debt-free life.

Think about where you are right now. Next, think about where you want to be? I heard once that if you don’t know where you’ll be in five years, you’re already there. Visualize your life five years from now. What does your career look like? Your financials? Your family dynamic and your social life? What does your spiritual, intellectual and physical life look like? Capture that image of who you will be then and save that image as if you’re taking a polaroid photo of the future. Store it and come back to that visual daily.

Daily visualization is so important in reshaping your brain’s reticular activating system. Without getting too technical, it’s your brain’s filter system. The more we visualize what we want, the more the brain believes it is reality. So cool, right? I agree!

Now that you know where you want to go, you have to become disciplined in order for that to become your reality. What I mean is, you have to delay instant gratification. You have to be willing to give up the good, and the better, for the very best. Ask yourself, what do I need to do to get where I want to be? And then ask yourself, what is getting in the way of me getting there?

Successful people do consistently what other people do occasionally. You have to decide how you will prioritize your time. When you imagined yourself five years from now, what kind of lifestyle does that version of you have? Start now. Start living as if you have already arrived at your future destination. And while your behaviors, decisions and actions are critical in your ability to achieve, the underlying dependencies that predict your behavior are shaped by your beliefs, values, skills and identity. Who you believe you are will determine how you choose to act. How can you influence your own mind? The answer is, by placing yourself in the right environments.

Your environment shapes your identity. Who you believe you are—your identity—will determine what you value and the skills you choose to develop. So, how do we create the right environments? By asking yourself, who do I need to be around if I want to become the person of my dreams?

Remember, you are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with. In fact, grab your phone and look at your five most recent text messages. Are the people you talk to the most adding value to your life, or are they subtracting? Do they energize and inspire you, or do they drain your energy and cause you to have a negative mindset?

Are you intentional about surrounding yourself with humans who live the way you dream to? Start creating what I like to call your Top Ten People Playlist. If you are going to have the life you’ve imagined, who do you need to connect with?

We have the most amazing opportunity now more than ever to connect with people digitally. My bonus tip for you is instead of thinking about someone who is a thousand steps ahead of you, think about someone who’s five steps ahead and reach out to them.

Lastly, you have to have courage. You have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and take the chance. We’ve all done this at some point in our lives or we wouldn’t have the careers we have! You can do it again and again. You have to have courage to reach out to people who may not know you. You have to face your fears and possibly face rejection. Almost every celebrity will tell you that they were rejected numerous times before they got their break. Recently, I had Jyl Craven join me on the Beyond The Technique podcast. She shared that she wanted to buy a building for her salon. No one would lend her the money. She was rejected by seven different banks. But the eighth took a risk on her. Boy, did that pay off!

Leadership starts with your ability to influence yourself. You will have to decide what you want your life to look like, how you’ll spend your time, and who you’re going to spend your time with. Leading yourself first, and then leading others. Stay tuned for part two of our leadership series, Influential Leaders Serve.


About the Author:
Kati Whitledge is an entrepreneur, speaker, author and podcaster. She opened Be Inspired Salon in 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Her passion for salon marketing and business grew tremendously and encouraged her launch of Meet Your Stylist, a matchmaking marketing tool used by salon owners nationwide. She’s also the beloved host and founder of the Beyond The Technique podcast—where valuable education is provided on the vast topics of salon business. Kati’s mission is to equip salon owners and their teams with the most innovative business marketing strategies.

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