How does the world of fashion influence you as a leader? What can we learn from fashion designers about salon and spa leadership? Beauty and fashion are ultimately both about style. Leadership is about influence. Famous fashion designers seem to be natural born leaders. We’re excited to follow fashion designers season after season as they influence us to make decisions about our personal style, and the beauty industry gains inspiration from their collections for new hair styles. Your ability to influence others is about your leadership style, which starts with mastering the 4 C’s of leadership.
1. Channel the Vision
One of the hallmarks of leadership is your ability to channel the vision. Fashion designers have a vision for what they want a collection to look like. The vision gains clarity as sketches for a collection becomes the plan that channels and guides the vision for the completed designs. Creating the vision and guiding it along the right path is what ultimately brings the designs to life. The same is true for you as a salon and spa leader. Take your vision from a sketch to an actual plan for growth to chart the course for your business. Here’s the key - share it with your team! The more your team knows about your vision, the more excited they will be to play a role in bringing your vision to life. John Maxwell, New York Times best selling author on leadership, refers to channeling the vision as the “Law of Navigation”, which means that “anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course”.
2. Create the Culture
What does your culture say about you as a leader? Fashion designers and their collections create a true statement about who they are and what they want to be known for in the world of fashion. The team and the designs become representative of the culture of the brand. Does your team reflect what you want your salon or spa to be known for in the world of beauty? Creating a winning culture begins with leadership. As fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi has said, “You can’t be melancholy in fashion because people don’t respond to it.” The same idea applies to creating a salon and spa culture. Creating a culture is different from creating systems and processes. Sure, systems and processes are needed, yet without a culture to support them, systems become ‘melancholy’ and teams don’t respond to them.
To create a strong culture, focus on the end result of the client experience. Think of it as what we call the ‘Starbuck’s Effect’. When you walk into a Starbucks, you immediately feel a sense of belonging and a certain vibe - relaxed, yet the energy of life is in motion. You feel a level of comfort like you’re being welcomed into your best friends house for a cup of coffee and a warm hug. The baristas (Starbuck’s team) create the rest of the experience and ensure your ultimate happiness. Salon and spa teams, as well as your clients, respond to having a sense of belonging too.
Creating a culture becomes the key difference between being a manager of your team versus influencing them as a leader. When defining your culture, include what teams respond well to such as recognition, empowerment to make decisions, contribution to the overall vision and rewards, a communication style to follow for client interaction, etc. Systems and processes will only take you so far. To move your team forward, you need leadership, which comes from building a strong culture.
3. Connect with Others
Social media enables us to communicate with clients daily, but are you really connecting with them? Are you influencing the outcome of client loyalty or gaining new clients? The art of connecting starts with authenticity, and relating on a personal level. How can you be authentic, especially in social media? Find your voice. Write like you talk. Be true to who you are and clients will sense that you’re real, not just another tweet or another newsletter in their inbox.
4. Circle of Influence
The essence of leadership is the ability to inspire your team and others to participate and follow you, which is about your influence. The world of fashion is often viewed as an exclusive insider’s club with their own inner circle. One of the key John Maxwell principles of leadership is that “the true measure of leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less.” Start with creating a circle of influence within your team and community. The first goal is to be followed by your team and clients. A second goal is to expand your inner circle to include others in the industry from brands, beauty professionals, association members, owners, the media, and beyond to share ideas, mentor others, and advance the industry forward. Who inspires you? Make a new connection, and begin creating your inner circle today!