4 mins


Being the one holding the salon keys can be tough. Hellen Ward reveals five universal truths all staff should know about what it’s really like to be the boss and running the show

Last month I looked at the harsh reality of client behaviour. Hopefully you’ve discovered and learned some of those salutary lessons for yourself over time and passed on your own experiences and findings to your team. Of course, the thing with lessons is that we never really learn them until they actually happen to us.

With some of the most fundamental business learnings, we sometimes use that famous expression and pray that hope will triumph over experience; hope indeed springs eternal. For instance, it’s well known that business and pleasure don’t mix, as much as we live in hope that they might. I’ve revisited this one many times and, try as I might, it remains true.

When you want to help someone you know well, it’s always with the truest of intentions, but relationships, friendships and family ties muddy the waters. Best to leave well alone, sadly.

So, what is it like to be a boss? What really goes through the mind of the person holding the salon keys? Here’s my take:

1. They want solutions, not problems

I’m happy for any of my team to come to me at any time and tell me their groans and grumbles, but it has to be on one condition; they have also had the forethought to consider how to solve the problem.

As bosses, we know who the whingers and moaners are. We know who does nothing but snipe and gripe behind our backs. And as such, when those people come to us with a grumble, we tend not to take them very seriously.

But there are those members who rarely complain, and if they do, they’ve often thought about some suggestions to sort the issue out too. Proactive always wins over reactive. “Be part of the solution, not the problem” must be every employer’s motto.

2.They want you to be aware of the issues they face

In all my training and education for salon managers and owners, I always urge them to share what is happening in the sector with their team. Not to frighten them, not to get the violins out and bemoan their lot, but in order for you to know why they are asking you to do what they are asking you to do. KPIs in a good workplace are always a healthy mix of existing company culture combined with sectorial changes in customer behaviour.

For instance, post-pandemic, clients are leaving it an increasingly long time between appointments, and that’s the reason the savvy boss is focusing on rebooking rates for each operator. If we explain the “why” properly then we get a better result. Working with the team to overcome these issues is key for any boss.

3. They want mutual appreciation

I cannot tell you how many staff parties we have had over the years, or how many financial extras or kind gestures we have made for our team members to accommodate their personal circumstances. I like to think that’s why we enjoy such long service.

But there are always those who never bother to say thank you and take everything for granted – and it hurts. Surveys suggest that productivity goes up massively when employers express their gratitude over the small things – staying late for a client, coming in on a day off. But it works both ways. A little thank you goes a long way.

4. They want to value and respect their team

OK, I get some bosses are intrinsically mean, some are financially mean, and others just plain mean, and trust me, you’ll know because nobody will stay working in a company like that. But not all bosses are Ebenezer Scrooge. Most really do want to see you flourish and accomplish your goals, especially financially.

If any of my senior operators are not earning enough it deeply concerns me because something must be up. That’s why we track and monitor the KPIs so closely. After all, their success is our success. The last thing I want is lots of unhappy team members sitting in the staff room bemoaning their lot. If they are, they can’t be happy, and I certainly won’t be.

5. They’ve got their own stuff going on

It isn’t always about you. Your boss might be having a tough time personally. Unlike the rest of the team, they don’t get to share because they don’t want anyone to worry about their job security (which is what staff will naturally default to). So, sometimes, just cut them a bit of slack.

They might not want to trouble you with the fact they’re worried about the increase in utilities, the prospect of raised business rates, the fact they need to spend money repairing fixtures and fittings, or that turnover and client visit numbers are down – let alone anything happening in their personal lives. The best way you can support them is to get on with your job and perform – for them and for you. They can’t (nor should they) ask more than that.

Ultimately, if you are a good boss, you just want your team to be happy. We spend such a large percentage of our time at work, so who would want to be miserable, especially in this post-coronavirus world?

Next month I’ll be examining the truth about staff. Watch this space.

Hellen Ward is managing director of Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa in London and a beauty ambassador for the National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF).

This article appears in November 2021

Go to Page View
This article appears in...
November 2021
Go to Page View
One of the things that makes the beauty
43% of beauty and hair businesses back in profit
We take a look inside PB’s digital world
Our exclusive monthly benchmarking stats for each sector of the market
With the end of the year
When you have first-time clients come through
Being the one holding the salon keys can be tough. Hellen Ward reveals five universal truths all staff should know about what it’s really like to be the boss and running the show
Our beauty experts answer your questions about every aspect of running a salon or spa business
Dermalogica’s general manager for the UK and Ireland tells us about the brand’s new training programmes, surviving Covid-19 and the company’s plans for the future
Semi-permanent make-up treatments are growing in popularity – be it bold brows, enhanced eyes or a perfectly tinted pout. Melanie Macleod explores the different techniques available
From maternity leave and sickness to handling staff absence, the NHBF explains everything you need to know about holiday entitlements in this handy guide
If you’ve been tempted into training in semi-permanent make-up then these are the newest courses to sign up to
As one of the fastest growing social media platforms, there’s never been a better time to jump on TikTok. Amanda Pauley finds out how salons and spas can use the app to promote their business and attract younger clientele
The team at software specialist Beu share three top tips for making your work life happier and easier, while also improving your salon’s productivity and efficiency
International visiting wellness practitioner Michelle Saudan explains the theory behind sound healing and how this modality can be incorporated into your spa offering
Taking on a lease can be one of the biggest commitments for your salon business. Denise Ferguson of Find Surveyors shares the key information to know
This month’s new treatments promise to successfully sculpt, slim and relax the body
New products that make performing treatments a breeze and more Christmas collections from the pro brands
Leading London facialist Tarryn Warren explains why balancing the microbiome is key to optimal skin health, especially for clients with acne and rosacea
Looking for back issues?
Browse the Archive >

Previous Article Next Article