By Scott Nichols
I just got off the phone and because of the phone call I had, I am going to change the whole topic of this article. I have this pet peeve about people not being able to get over things – things that are minor but others like to make much bigger than what it really is. It’s the typical story of two different groups of people who aren’t getting along. In my opinion, a lot of issues could be solved if each party took a step back and knew the whole story. It’s like when you watch a movie and the whole basis of the movie is bad timing. The high school sweethearts break up but later in life bump into each other again. The guy had done something that causes the original break-up and now the girl needs to decide if she wants to give him a second chance. Can they work through their issues and find love in time for Christmas?
All joking aside, I find similar things happening with relationships in our stores. Relationships can make or break your business. We need everyone and everyone needs us but what I have found in my 20-plus years is our opinions, egos, bullheadedness or whatever you want to call it gets in the way. In my opinion, more than ever we need to focus on building strong teams. The strength of your team will determine the success of your store.
How many great employees have we lost in the past because of issues like this? I find that most employees who leave on bad terms leave because of a breakdown in the relationship we have with them or they have with us. No matter what you do as a manager, there are going to be times where we upset employees and vice versa. You can be proactive and a great leader but sometimes things happen that are out of our control. You can’t help that but what you do next you can.
I challenge you to sit down with the employee and find out what is going on. When considering covering hours, interviewing and training, a sit down with the employee might be beneficial. You might find out that you are at fault or the employee is, but I am going to tell you it doesn’t matter at this point. What matters is this: Do you want to keep the employee or not? If yes, then find a way to make it work. Ask the employee what he/she would like to see happen and then let the employee know what you would like to see happen.
The goal is to find the real problem of what caused all of this in the first place. Whatever this issue is, make sure you focus on it and work on a solution to fix it and make sure it won’t happen again. If it does happen again, set up a plan so it can be dealt with immediately.
In most cases, it’s going to take someone who is going to extend their hand. It’s going to take someone to start taking a step forward. The reality is most of us won’t, or even can’t, do this. For the people who can, you might find out this employee is amazing, and you will see a stronger relationship than before and an employee who is excited about work.
If for some reason this doesn’t work, don’t sweat it. You tried and extended your hand. That is all you can do. Be content on knowing you tried.
We can even look at this at an industry level too.
I have a group of salon owners who I like to connect with on a regular basis. The conversations range from beds to lotions to strategy to sales. We have a strong respect for each other and know our conversations won’t be shared with others.
I have learned a great deal from others and with their permission have implemented a lot of their ideas. I would have to believe they have done with same as well. To make this work, we are in markets that don’t compete with each other, so everything and anything is on the table. By the way, this industry is full of salon owners who want to network, and if you are looking to do so just send me an email.
I do understand the reasoning for salon owners who don’t want to network. They might have been burned in the past, they have worked really hard to gain the information and are protected of giving information out, or it can be one of many other reasons. I understand and can appreciate this reasoning.
This industry needs to keep developing strong individuals who are willing to step up. If we can get enough individuals, we can come together and build a strong team of like-minded thinkers. If you have been burned in the past or are hesitant to come forward, please know that I am extending my hand to you today. I would ask you take a step back and take the 40,000-foot view. Look at the big picture and how you can help strengthen this industry while gaining ideas to help strengthen your stores.
I have given you an example of a situation where there’s conflict between a manager and an employee along with a conflict between salon owners. In most cases, conflict doesn’t need to happen and can be squashed if any sign of it starts to happen. Here are my three rules to keep a healthy relationship strong:
When networking with other salon owners, make it known all conversations are confidential unless given permission to share. Find common topics that are going to make this work for you and be ready to put a hard stop to anything you’re not ready to share yet. Set the boundaries and others will follow them.
The high school sweethearts end up back together because it’s how the movie goes. Either the best friend or someone close to the couple talks to him and/or her and sets the path toward forgiveness. The last 15 minutes of the movie is always the best as you get to see someone apologizing or changing their mind. What comes next is the other person accepting the gesture. It takes two to make this happen and if the relationship you once had has the potential to once again flourish, then maybe it’s worth stretching out your hand.