Salon drama: How to manage staff conflict

salon drama

So you have started to prepare your salon for this winter, and have everything in place to maximise the potential profit.

However, there is an issue with your staff and how they are getting on. When working in a salon, it can often feel like this drama is amplified. Perhaps it’s because stylists are typically passionate and outgoing people. Or perhaps it’s because the salon staff will often work in close proximity.

Whatever the reason, salon drama can quickly ruin the mood. And it’s not only your staff who will suffer, but your customers will also probably notice the sour mood too.

If you’re struggling with salon drama, or if you just want to make sure these issues never arise in your salon, read on to discover how to manage conflict at work.

1. Have a company code of conduct

Working in a salon can often offer more freedom than a traditional work environment. It’s a creative role, which lends itself to a more relaxed work environment. But relaxed doesn’t have to mean unstructured.

Make sure you have a company code of conduct so that your employees know what is expected of them. By making it clear in your company code of conduct that bullying and negative behaviour will not be accepted, you have something to lean back on if you ever run into conflict.

2. Diffuse conflict as it happens

It’s easy to turn a blind eye to drama. As a salon owner, you have a responsibility to take an interest in what is going on in your business. If you spot anyone making negative remarks or talking behind someone’s back, it’s your responsibility to say something.

Rather than making a very public spectacle, just take the person to one side and speak to them about their behaviour. Remind them that there aren’t many places to hide in a salon and their behaviour will often be on full display for your customers to see. Make it clear that all members of staff need to behave in an appropriate way for the benefit of the customers.

3. Look for ways to boost morale

Sometimes, negative behaviour is not directed towards anyone in particular. If your team is worn down and feeling unmotivated, this can manifest in petty behaviour. It’s important to take the time to boost morale within your team.

This might mean arranging a monthly meal together, or closing early one day and ordering takeaway. Even just a box of doughnuts in the staff break room can give everyone a much-needed boost. As a salon owner, you need to get confident in reading the mood of the room and taking action when the mood gets sour.

4. Hold regular meetings

When your team feel left out of the loop, this can lead to sour feelings between junior and senior stylists. Junior stylists can feel like their contribution isn’t welcome, and senior stylists can feel like their contribution isn’t appreciated.

To counter these feelings, hold regular meetings to highlight the successes of the whole team. If you use salon software like Salon Iris & Phorest, you can produce regular sales reports that will highlight just how hard your team have been working. By involving your team in the day to day running of the business, they will feel more invested and less likely to have negative attitudes towards their teammates.

5. Lead by example

You can’t say one thing and then do another. If you want to boost morale at work, then constantly criticising your team’s work isn’t going to help. And if you want to cut out the nasty gossip, then you can’t be the one gossiping.

When you are trying to cut the drama out your salon, you have to lead by example. You don’t always have to have a sunny attitude and outlook, but you need to keep your negative feelings to yourself to prevent them from spreading throughout the team.

5. Don’t be afraid to say goodbye to toxic behaviour

If someone doesn’t fit in with your team, you need to be strong enough to take a stand. Even just one toxic member of your team can make work unpleasant for everyone. If you have tried the steps above and have found no difference in their attitude or behaviour, it might be time to say goodbye.

Firing someone because they aren’t a good fit isn’t easy, but if they are damaging your business, you might not have a choice. Make sure that you follow the correct protocol by giving them written warnings about their behaviour. A warning is often enough to encourage them to change their ways or start looking for another job.

These are just some of the ways you can deal with salon drama. Remember, drama rarely goes away on its own and will often get worse if left unchecked. A toxic work environment is not only unpleasant for your employees, but it can also be uncomfortable for your customers. It might feel awkward, but you should always tackle the problem head-on and make it clear that drama in the workplace isn’t acceptable.