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Superstar Salon & Spa Employees: Blessing or Curse?

November 14, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

It’s truly magical when talent, determination, integrity, relationship building, innovation, and personality, perfectly blend into one high-performance individual.

What emerges is a powerhouse employee that routinely shatters performance benchmarks with ease.

Maybe you were one of these powerhouse employees before striking out to build your own salon/spa and chase your dreams.

Superstars emerge in all aspects of work and life. They break records. They inspire and mentor others. They set new standards. They create and maintain a sense of urgency.

More than anything, it’s inspiring, and a privilege, to work on the same team as a superstar. That is, as long as the superstar is a team player and doesn’t fall victim to self-perceived delusions of grandeur and privilege.

That’s when a superstar performer goes from a blessing to a curse. Inflated egos, toxic spewing, rule-breaking, and negative attitudes infect and degrade an otherwise pristine company culture.

FACT: Superstar employees only devolve into culture wrecking balls when leaders allow them to.

To help you keep your top performers on track, we’ve put together these essential leadership must-do’s to ensure that your top-performing employees strengthen your culture rather than wreck it.

  • One culture – One set of rules: Double standards wreck salon/spa cultures. They establish two classes; one with privileged favorites and another that is expected to play by the rules. It’s a divisive, adversarial, and destructive culture to work in and a nightmare to lead. KEY: A culture built on a foundation of fairness, equality, and trust will out-perform, out-sell, and out-grow a double standard culture with ease because everyone is pushing and pulling in the same direction. Double standard cultures feed indifference, entitlement, and internal fighting. Remember, leaders allow double standards to infect their companies.

  • Always the many — not the one: Building a company around a superstar employee is inherently dangerous and comes with no guarantee of success. Look at any sports franchise that gets locked into a multi-million-dollar contract for one superstar player. They may get a few good years out of the player, but at what cost to the rest of the team? KEY: It’s the rest of the team that makes the superstar look great. That’s why the leader’s focus must always be on building the team — not the superstar. The superstar is paid and expected to deliver results, but it’s always about the team. When it’s all about the superstar, the entire company suffers.
  • Engagement is vital: Superstars are incredible resources for knowledge and expertise, but when left alone to “do their thing,” they run amuck. When pampered and spoiled, they expect and ask for even more. KEY: Superstars perform best, and contribute to overall team performance when engaged in company planning, training, innovation, and mentoring. Yes, even superstars need attention and appreciation. Yes, even superstars need regular formal performance reviews. Allow them to run on autopilot for too long, and they drift away from the company culture and vision.
  • Build your bench: Superstars are like shiny things. They attract attention. Everyone wants one. But superstars can get expensive and become a distraction. KEY: As the owner/leader, you must be focused and committed to building your company’s bench of talent. Seek out employees with the potential to become “A” players. Have an Internal Training Program to help employees achieve their full potential. And when a superstar emerges, ensure that everyone keeps playing from the same playbook. The superstar is today’s success, but it’s your bench of talent that represents your salon’s/spa’s future.
  • Hostage is a choice: A superstar performer that plays games like, “give me more or I’ll leave,” or, “If I have to do that I’ll leave,” has already separated from your company culture. Their loyalty is to themselves and comes at the expense of everyone else. KEY: Leaders that get sucked into these games never win back the passion, loyalty, or trust of the superstar. When demands for special treatment start to exceed the “acceptable,” and pose a potential compromise to the financial and cultural wellbeing of the company, it’s time to pull the superstar back to reality — or cut them loose. Fact: Holding on to a superstar just to keep the money he/she generates, is a seriously bad investment.
  • Nothing lasts forever: In business, people come and go. Superstars will come and go. Superstars that believe in we/us/team/company are valuable long-term employees. KEY: When their thinking and behavior shift to I/me/mine, they become a liability that is too costly to retain. The problem is that superstars rarely exit a company quietly and almost always leave conflict and drama in their wake. That’s why it’s so important to keep superstars engaged and focused. But eventually, the superstar will move on. As a leader, it’s your job to control the size and duration of their wake.

Here’s my challenge to you: If your salon/spa is blessed with a seriously talented individual, it’s your responsibility to mentor and coach that individual to be the best team player he or she can be.

The moment you allow a double standard to infect your culture, the downward spiral begins. Everyone sees it. Drama festers. Productivity and performance degrade. And it’s all completely avoidable.

Your most talented employees are your company’s mentors. It’s your leadership that makes and keeps it that way.

Categories: Leadership , Staff Retention

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