A Routine That's Habit Forming | Dermascope

OTC Beauty Magazine
June 2010

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Empowerment Through Leadership

The Secret To Inspiring Your Team To Thrive Is Through Effective Direction

“Leadership has a direct impact on your business profit,” notes Lauren Gartland, founder of Inspiring Champions, a business training and coaching company in the professional beauty industry offering live training seminars, coaching and leadership services. Gartland instructs business owners on how to become strong leaders for the benefit of their teams and for career growth and success. “As a retail business owner, your sales staff is a valuable asset. By being a good leader, you also empower your team to stretch their own leadership skills and advance their careers,” she notes. Gartland shares a few components that go into developing effective leadership skills

Establish An Honor Code

Business owners and managers begin to learn how to create a powerful and cohesive team through the use of a code of honor. An honor code is a system with a set of guiding principles governing a community. Gartland instructs, “Sit down with your team members and establish your own honor code. Have your team call out words they want to include in the code. They might suggest words like excellence, integrity, trust and respect.”

Select a few words and have your team agree on definitions for them. Respect may be defined as treating others as you wish to be treated, not gossiping or making excuses, being responsible and upholding our code. Write out a paragraph detailing your code and post it wherever your team members will see it, in the break room, bathroom or behind a counter. “Because the code is established together as a team, members have ownership in it and pride in its upkeep. Much like the Marine code, establishing this kind of system holds team members accountable, holds them to a team standard and gives other members permission to call them out if they fail to honor it,” Gartland says.

“Listening is
a skill in leadership
that requires you
to be present
at all times."

Learn To Listen

“Listening is a skill in leadership that requires you to be present at all times. This requires practice and developing a muscle for listening at a deeper level,” Gartland shares. First, become vividly aware of your listening skills. There are three styles of listening: distracted listening, focused listening and global listening. “With distracted listening, you may be distracted by something going on in your environment, or more likely just distracted by the conversation going on in your head! When someone is speaking and your inner voice is judging, commenting or planning your response, that is distracted listening,” Gartland says.

The first step to developing your listening muscle is simply to become aware of the distractions around you. Then, begin to practice your focused listening skills, which put total emphasis on the person speaking to you. Try to be unattached to your opinion or judgment of what your team member is saying. Your goal is to hear what is being said, as well as tune into what is not being said, yet demonstrated by body language or eye contact. “Imagine two people on a date who are totally absorbed in each other. They are oblivious to what is happening around them. That is truly focused listening!” Gartland shares. As a good leader you will continue to develop your listening skills. With practice, eventually the chatter in your mind will quiet and be replaced by calm. Global listening happens when you can take in events going on around you while having a conversation, remaining engaged yet still aware of the surrounding elements that may be affecting your conversation.

Consider Your Style

Learning the methods of situational leadership helps owners and managers discover how to assess the developmental level of each of their individual team members, as well as recognize their own leadership style. Gartland shares, “There is a cost to being embedded in your leadership style. Business owners and managers have to realize that if they don’t adjust their style to meet the needs of their team, they may negatively affect their business and cause turnover.” There are four leadership styles and most people have one style they use on all people. The first and most common style is called ‘Telling.’ Business owners and managers have a tendency to be ‘Tellers’, a style in which they give directions to employees while still maintaining control. Tellers can often become micro-managers, staying too involved in the details while not allowing their employees to grow. The objective of becoming a leader is ultimately to help grow your team members in their developmental level. Your goal is to reach the fourth level, ‘Delegating,’ in which you assign tasks to personnel, then step back and give them control and responsibility.

Before you reach that coveted fourth level however, you must first assess what your team members’ learning styles are. There are two, rote learners and conceptual learners. Rote learners need to repeat tasks in order to remember them; conceptual learners assimilate new information quickly. Neither style is necessarily better; they just need to be recognized for the proper training method to be applied. Gartland says, “At least at first, a rote learner will require a Telling style, as they may be overwhelmed by a Delegating style. Conversely, a conceptual learner may be insulted by a Telling style and feel disrespected by its use.” The second leadership style is called ‘Participating,’ where the transition to shifting power is begun by accepting the team member’s feedback and ensuring they have a reasonable understanding of the required tasks. The third style is ‘Consulting,’ which is more dependent upon feedback and verification of whether the team member is ready for the independent delegation style. Gartland and her team lead training camps across the country to help business owners perfect their leadership styles, while successfully building those of their team members.

Develop Winners!

“The most important function of a leader is to help people move through the stages of development,” Gartland notes. Use a six step system to develop your team members into winners. Step One is to first explain to your team exactly what your expectations are for them. Tell your team what you want and need from them, tell them what the performance standards you expect from them are and what goals they should be striving for. “We cannot get upset at people for not doing what they do not know they are supposed to do!” Gartland says. Step Two is to show your team exactly what you want and how you want it done. Demonstrate how you want the phone answered, how to conduct retail sales, how to set up displays or how to handle customer challenges. You may want to write out scripts for them to memorize on your retail promotions or practice role playing on how to handle an unsatisfied customer.

Step Three of the development process is to observe your team members doing the tasks. “Give acknowledgement and praise when they complete tasks correctly, and simply redirect them, continually if needed, until they are proficient,” says Gartland. Step Four is to create a strong enough reason why you are requesting a task be done or what their motivation should be. Step Five is to monitor their results and determine whether they are achieving the goals you have presented. Step Six is to simply observe on an ongoing basis for quality control. “Praise team members when they reach goals and encourage them to stretch themselves, or redirect them if they are not performing until you get the results you are both striving for,” Gartland says.

Pursue Leadership, Not Management

Everyone admires a strong leader, while no one really likes to be managed. A key part of being a good leader is to help your team members to develop and reach their own career and personal goals, in your business as well as in their lives. Perhaps you have team members who want to grow into a leadership position or to become a business owner themselves one day. Perhaps an employee is interested in growing their career in beauty by becoming a hairstylist, nail technician or other spa and beauty professional? “Goal setting is creating a future in advance. When you set goals, you are designing your life and sculpting your destiny!” Gartland concludes.

Becoming a leader, helping your team members to learn and grow and striving together to reach new goals for success is about empowerment – for your team members as well as for you. Ultimately, you will benefit from having a strong team and your business will thrive!

Inspiring Champions is a business and coaching company offering live training camps, coaching and mentoring services, webinars, audio tapes and educational resources. For more information call 800-496-9305 or visit www.InspiringChampions.com.

Jenny Hogan is the Media Director at Marketing Solutions, Inc., a full-service marketing, advertising and PR agency specializing in the professional beauty business. For more information, contact 703-359-6000, visit www.MktgSols.com or send an email to MktgSols@MktgSols.com.