There’s a strong sense of responsibility that comes with being a leader but you also have to be open to learning new things and facing new challenges. Sometimes that means admitting that you aren’t always the most knowledgeable person in the room.
Salon Owner and Industry Expert, Kellie Johnson, is no stranger to the struggle that comes with finding your place as a leader. Today, she’s here to share her advice on becoming the kind of leader you want to be.
We introduced you to Kellie in our Beyond The Technique Podcast, but if you missed her previous interviews we’ll give you a quick recap: Kellie is the owner of the renown Elan Studio and a council member of The EmpowHERment Project. Aside from her career in the beauty industry, Kellie is also a certified Hypnotherapist and Professional Coach. With expert industry insight, she offers her best advice for becoming a strong leader within your salon.
Salon Owners, You’ve Got to Stay True to Yourself
Kellie has always been passionate about learning new things and building on her experiences in order to grow. She believes that being a good leader is about becoming the best version of yourself--somebody that you would look up to--and that takes time.
For Kellie, her first three years in business were her most challenging. She struggled to find structure, she wanted to please everybody, and at the end of the day, she simply wasn’t putting her own needs first.
Now, Kellie looks back on those times and she’ll tell you that learned a lot along the way, but the most important lesson she took away from those early years is that you absolutely have to lead with love and you can never compromise on your own values.
A True Leader Invests in Their Team
Kellie is a strong believer in the idea that salon ownership isn’t about making money, it’s about growing people. She makes it her mission to create as many opportunities for her team as she can with the hopes of building their confidence one step at a time.
At Elan, they do focus on technical skill training, but Kellie also brings in speakers and industry experts who can educate her team on personal development and build on the intrapersonal skills that are truly a testament to a stylist’s strength behind the chair.
Kellie believes that education and opportunities for growth are crucial in creating a positive salon culture. Kellie works hard to empower her team to take their career into their own hands, by building their confidence both in and outside of the salon.
You Can’t Go Getting Your Feelings Hurt
Kellie reflects on one of the hardest lessons she had to learn as a new salon owner, which was that you can’t take anything personally. Letting your emotions get in the way of your leadership is disruptive for the entire team.
Of course, in a creative industry like ours, we’re constantly surrounded by incredibly sensitive, emotionally intelligent individuals who sometimes let their feelings get the best of them, salon owners and leaders included.
Kellie believes that as a salon owner, you have to remember that it isn’t about you. You have to be able to see past your own emotions and reactions in order to help your team grow, both personally and professionally.
How to Stay on Top of It All
Being a leader comes with quite a bit of responsibility and responsibility requires discipline. Kellie manages her stress by practicing meditation. As a salon owner, it can be quite easy to get overwhelmed with all of the little things you need to get done during the week, the month, even the year.
Kellie recommends starting your day with a solid 20 minutes of meditation to simply check in with yourself. Prep for your day and what you hope to accomplish in those 24 hours. Don’t get ahead of yourself, don’t start thinking about the next day or the week ahead, just focus on what you want to get done that day.
Then, check in with yourself again in the evening. Reward yourself for your hard work and give yourself a pat on the back for everything you were able to check off of your list!
Meditation is one of the healthiest forms of stress management out there and anybody can do it. For Kellie, it has completely changed the way she looks at her to-do list.
If you’d like to learn more about Kellie and her incredible journey in the beauty industry, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 186. Be sure to also check out our other Beyond The Technique blog featuring Kellie’s incredible industry insight, “Five Ways to “Wow” Your Clients and Improve Your Salon Experience.”