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Inspiring leadership And Motivation Can Guide Your Salon To Success.

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

The Dream Team with Valerie Delforge.

I often get asked “how do I motivate my team” and this is possibly the most difficult question to answer directly without spending a little time with the employees in question. There are a lot of articles out there about the newer generation and how to motivate them. However, to be fair, it is the same with the “older” generation who are seeing everything changing and are less inclined to feel excited about the industry, with a kind of “seen it all, heard it all” attitude. In recent years, we have witnessed an increase in the mobile industry which in itself makes recruitment more and more difficult as the candidates are scarce and “the good ones” may be demanding financially or with an ulterior motive. So, how can we motivate a team that seems to be more focused on themselves than ever? I am often asked by salon owners, what if I motivate and train my employees only for them to leave and open their own place? Is there a solution? No matter the staff situation here is the mindset I always follow:


The clearer the vision, the clearer the dream. The more your team is sure about where you are leading them, the more they will follow you on your journey. In essence, your passion cannot help but be noticed. The energy becomes positive, the vibes are catchy and the mood is pleasant. Who wants to work in a negative and draining environment? Ask yourself, does your team know your vision?


Your team members are part of your dream, but what is in it for them? I believe everyone wants to be developed, whether a mum with young children, someone reliable who’s been with the business a long time but perhaps is feeling stale, or a Generation Z, they all have something they want to do. Maybe their ambitions have nothing to do with the industry, maybe they want to learn a different skill. Yet, whilst they are learning that new skill set, they are in your salon making you money. Find out what they want. What is their dream? Be part of their ambition, even helping them to make it happen. You could suggest that if they achieve your set targets, you will invest in their ambition or they can earn bonuses to make it happen. If they are staying in beauty, can you offer their new skill set in your salon, and if they do want to leave the industry, can they “earn” more time to study, for example? Whatever it is, as long as they achieve their set targets, it’s a win-win situation. However, what if an employee wants to eventually open their own business? You could take the approach that you are even prepared to support this goal just as long as it’s not near your salon. Your mindset is that you would rather know their intention. Since there should be a clause in their contract and you can check with mystery shoppers whether they are trying to take your clients, this all comes down to trust. Teaching them the ropes to become their own boss can be rewarding. If you show them everything that encompasses management and business owning, most of the time it will deter them from doing it on their own anyway. Let’s talk about the costs and staff management involved in motivating your employees daily. My outlook is that I want the team to learn from the master type of attitude. On the other hand, if someone doesn’t want to be developed, then would they be motivated financially? For example, would they want to win a holiday if they achieved the set targets? Would they like to earn more cash for something they want to buy? What is their wish list? In other words, finding out what makes each person tick is the key to motivation. As a manager and leader, you can support that because the individual plan is followed.


Do not underestimate the power of meetings; they are crucial to the motivation of your team, whether they are individual or team get-togethers. Even when busy, meetings should happen. They allow time to iron out potential issues and create a sense of trust as you are taking time for your employees. Most importantly, they set out your expectations. Communication is one of the most important soft skills as a leader. No matter the situation, find time for your meetings and add them to your diary for the year ahead.


To inspire and motivate, there must be a budget for training and a yearly programme should take place. Every quarter, you should ensure that something is happening education-wise and not just brand training. This is essential, of course, but skills can be taught in everything to keep learning. I know a spa that trained their staff in the art of tea making from a Japanese Tea Master, a hair salon who had their team go on a course for head massages, and we deliver reception training which focuses on how employees can handle pressure. My point is to think outside of the box when it comes to training, be inventive and relate it to your business. Even the individuals who don’t want to be trained can learn something. Even if they leave you in a year, you have given them the chance to be better and gain more knowledge, which in itself is the sign of strong leadership.


Someone said to me, “Valerie that depends if the candidates turn up!” Yes, interviews are another issue entirely and the topic would make a separate article. However, I have always interviewed with the only mindset of inspiring. My aim is for candidates to want to work with me because of everything that I have discussed above. I want them to leave the interview feeling that they would love it here. Then, I make up my mind if I can and want to develop them. Ultimately, you will train people and they will leave you, you will employ people who are not right for the team and you will have existing employees who are not happy or motivated. However, it is down to you to be constant in your attitude and vision to lead your employees to success. Strive to inspire to be better and learn new skills to motivate the team. If they are not enthused, you need to question if they are the right team member for your business which becomes a management issue.

Finally, I will leave you with this quote by Richard Branson that sums up leadership and motivation. He once said: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

Valerie Delforge
The Dream Team with Valerie Delforge.

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