Not sure what kind of leader you want to be in the spa? Read up on these different styles to figure out which one works for you.

Leadership skills and techniques are important in determining how staff members respond and perform their job requirements. As a leader, it's easy to get caught in one of two types: you can either exhaust your staff to the point of frustration or be so laid back that your work place is a free for all with employees walking all over you.

The key is to find a healthy balance so you, your employees and your clients will reap the benefits. While research has identified many specific types of leadership, the following three are the major and most influential leadership styles. Figure out which one suits you:

Authoritarian Leadership

These leaders provide a clear expectation for what is required from the employee. This leader is specific about when things need to be done and how it should be done. There is also a clear division between the leader and employees. Authoritarian leaders make decisions independently with little or no input from their employees. Researchers found that decision making was less creative under authoritarian leadership. Abuse of this type of leadership is usually viewed as controlling, bossy and dictatorial. Authoritarian leadership is best applied to situations where there is little time for group decision-making or where the leader is the most knowledgeable.

Participative Leadership

Researchers found this leadership style generally most effective. These leaders guide employees, but also allow them to participate and have input. Employees were found to be less productive than the members of the authoritarian group, but their contributions were of a much higher quality. Participative leaders encourage employees to participate, but retain the final say over the decision-making process. Employees tend to be more motivated and creative. They also take pride in the success and operation of the spa.

Delegative Leadership

Employees were found to make more demands on this type of leader. They don't cooperate well and have a hard time working independently. Delegative leaders offer little or no guidance to employees and leave decision making up to them. While this style can be effective in situations where employees are highly qualified, it often leads to poorly defined roles and a lack of motivation. While we all can find one particular leadership style that most fits our style, it is very important to understand that good leaders utilize all three styles depending on the situation.

  • If your staff lacks knowledge about a certain procedure, use an authoritarian style.
  • If your staff understands the task and objectives, use a participative style and allow their input before making the final decision.
  • If the employees are more knowledgeable in a particular area, use a delagative style and rely on them to make the decision. As great leaders, we need to adapt and change based upon our objectives, needs and situational factors.

Don Coryell, former San Diego Chargers coach, said, "The country is full of good coaches. What it takes to win is a bunch of interested players."

Get employees interested and motivated and you'll succeed together.
-Lisa Martin 

Spa Leadership: Find Your StyleVeteran esthetician Lisa Martin offers
solutions for spa protocol, business
etiquette and managing your staff.

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