How to Inspire Your Team to Work Towards Salon Success

Connor Keppel

John Maher is Director of Queen Academy in Dublin and has over 25 years of continued success in managing and mentoring teams. Phorest recently sat with John and asked him the ingredients to building a productive, motivated and inspired team working towards salon success. John puts it down to thinking outside the salon. Here’s what he had to say..

I still remember the first time someone let me cut their hair. Granted, it was inspired by keeping the money given by her Mum for a professional to do the job so we could spend it on cigarettes instead. II will never forget the brilliant feeling of getting that shape to work and how good it felt when others admired my work. It remains one of the most rewarding feelings I enjoy even after 25 years in the industry.

What is that good feeling we as hairdressers get when we do something we enjoy? It comes in many varied ways and its hard to tie down or define but one thing’s for sure, I miss it when it’s not in the room.

Lately I have been working with my team towards making inspiration something that we feel more and more in touch with. It’s amazing how just spending a little time outside our usual routine has grown our ability to work together and share ideas more, during our workshops and through the rest of the working week.

In today’s climate we feel time is difficult to find, given the current need to maximise our workload and minimise the hours that we are not directly generating money. If we step away from the short-term view, it makes so much sense to allocate time and effort into feeding the core energies that got us all into this business in the first place … enjoying making people feel good by delivering a service that we are proud of!!

How do you find the way to inspire your team, that’s unique to you ?

Think about it!! What’s your favourite thing to do? Is it all about the industry? Or for example, does music or film inspire you? Maybe are you a gym bunny or a foodie? All of these and many more pursuits can be adapted to team-building exercises that allow us to share who we are and where our passion lies outside the usual day-to-day routine of the salon.

If you can do this you will allow a new form of relationship building and motivation to work for all the group working together on a new project – even a day every 6 months can create a greater team spirit and deliver better cooperation, more cross-selling and higher sales without ever going near a flip-chart. It’s a worthwhile exercise and it adds up when you consider how powerful the experience of sharing something you enjoy works to encourage others to find their passion.

What team building exercises we’ve done in Queen…

It’s contagious, enjoyable,effective and free, not to mention a crying shame to miss out on! Inspiration is all around us and by taking time as a group to acknowledge and validate the skills we have and the work we do. Couple this with the practical steps to connect with inspiration and you have the tailor made answer to refuelling the passion in the individual allowing them to drive and deliver the benefits of the shared motivational experience to their clients.

If this can be achieved and sustained we know it’s the key to all the elements of our business performing with the strength it should.

Be inspired, share your passion and reap the rewards. Best of luck!

John Maher is Director of Queen Academy. A leader in the education field, Queen provides a range of comprehensive hairdressing courses with a unique blend of theory, practice combined with 25 years of John’s success. If you want to ask John any questions, drop an email to or if you too are interested in contributing to the Phorest blog, contact Connor Keppel on

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