6 Management Styles And How They Apply To Salons And Spas


In his book ‘Leadership’, published in 1978, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James MacGregor introduced the concept of transformational leadership, a process where “leaders and their followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation.” And to be honest, that’s where we hope you’re at. Building a culture and encouraging your staff to be the best they can be. In saying that though, the good hard truth about leadership and management styles is that really, methods vary from one manager to another. When it comes to it, do we really know what are they are and what various results they can deliver?

Related | How To Build Trust As A Leader In The Salon And Spa Industry


Below, I list 6 types of leadership and apply them to the hair and beauty industry. Can you recognize which style you have the most in common with?

The Directive Leader

“Because I say so”

Directive leaders are the type of managers that will achieve their targets no matter what. They don’t like much creativity: they are there to do a job and will make it happen regardless of their team’s levels of support. As they are not afraid of hiring and firing within the law, these leaders tend to reach their objectives by scaring their teams.

In other words, they are very strong in the way they deal with processes in their business. Usually, of all management styles, this one succeeds in restructuring failing salons and spas.

The Chief Leader

“Respect me now”

Extremely impressive leaders, ‘chiefs’ make use of clear and precise communication. Their attitude is to be productive and not waste time. ‘Let’s do it now!’ is their motto. However, the chief leader management style tends to be one-way and often fails to listen. This can, unfortunately, make staff feel undervalued.

In short, they get results, are strong at procedures and gain respect from some of the team members who like directions, but occasionally struggle to catch on to teams’ needs. Again, very strong leaders for failing businesses or big operations.

The Visionary Leader

“Building a dream”

Sometimes misunderstood for being all over the place, the visionary leader can find it hard to settle in one place or one project: they’re dreamers! Not the strongest at day-to-day business management, they compensate in making their team feel valued (this is one of their goals). And as far as they’re concerned, they’re building an amazing dream!

Their motivation can make visionary leaders good at getting results, however, they will often need strong operational teams to work with them. Fantastic for new ventures, of all management styles, this can be the one to create the salons of tomorrow.

The Collaborative Leader

“Unison is my aim”

Collaborative leaders are very good at getting teams to work together. They like to deal with all human resources situations and view their team as individuals sharing the same goals. Very emphatic and inspirational to every personality in the team, these types of managers are great listeners but can also tend to be slow at acting.

These leaders are fantastic for any businesses as long as getting fast results is not the main priority. Of all management styles, this one approaches the workload with long-term strategies and the building of a dream team. Good for startups as well, the collaborative leader can also be part of a team for a long time and gain respect for his or her long-standing work.

The Participative Leader

“We are all in it”

Participative leaders are very good for team morale. Unlike the collaborative style of management/leadership, this style favours getting the whole team involved in decision making. They are not the best in difficult times, but they do tend to make the team feel valued in their work (think of it as if they gave a huge cuddle to their teams and made it all better).

These kinds of managers are needed when the morale is low or teams get demotivated. They can get good results but can also be slow at delivering solutions for day-to-day operations.

The ‘Coach’ Leader

“I believe in you”

On an individual basis, the ‘coach’ leader is the most supportive one. This type of management will inspire every personality on the team. Be wary though; while they are very effective in achieving results, ensuring that everyone else is okay can take a lot of their energy. Coach leaders know where they are going in terms of vision, but need strong management teams around them to deal with day-to-day operations. Their involvement in the team can make them forget the essentials. Coach leaders tend to be excellent at communication, which is ideal for any teams.

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Related | When The “Fingers Crossed” Salon Management Style Isn’t Suitable


Final Words On Management Styles

It is crucial for any manager to feel that they are leading to achieve and create better tomorrows. Throughout my career, I quickly understood that by working with people for people, with various personalities around me, my management style needed to adjust. There is one thing that never adjusted, however; my goals and achieving targets. I know that when I start in a salon/spa, I am a visionary leader, mixed with a hint of directive & chief when needed, a pinch of participative to motivate the teams, and a touch of collaborative to make the team work better together. But above all, my coaching leadership style is my favourite, which probably explains why I am doing my work now at Delforge + Co! I am a huge fan of setting up people for success because their success is my success. It’s unfortunate that so many managers are scared of that; it’s the key to focus your team to achieve the best.

I leave you with the idea that there is no right or wrong! Results are what matters, and to inspire a workforce, you should apply all of these management styles at one point or another (sometimes, on a daily basis)!

Thanks for reading,


Valerie Delforge is a Commercial Trainer and Coach for the Spa, Beauty and Hair industry. Valerie specialises in creating specific workshops to support managers. Founder of Delforge + Co, she is keen to support the industry in achieving its best. For a list of procedures and coaching, visit Delforge + Co. or contact valerie@delforge.co. Also, Delforge + Co is proud to announce the modules available in The London School of Beauty & Make-Up, which you can sign up for here!

Featured imaged shot on location of Aviary Lane. © 2017 Phorest Salon Software.

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