Last night, my partner and I, were watching a baking competition show. I couldn’t help but pay close attention to the woman who was freaking out and yelling at her staff. Why did I instantly dislike her the second she opened her mouth? Besides her freak outs, the cause of which is undoubtedly a producer off screen encouraging her to have them, not only did I not care about her sympathetic back story I genuinely wanted her to lose. After the fourth side interview I realized that she reminded me of all the toxic leaders and owners I have distanced myself from throughout my salon career.
“I’m the best baker, and I will win”. Meanwhile, her cake is resembling the leaning tower of Pisa (delusional).
“I only accept perfection. I can do no wrong”. It was clearly her assistant’s fault for choosing the wrong ingredient (lack of personal responsibility).
I used to work for a salon owner who told me not to stay home with my sick son. When I told her I needed to take him to the doctors office I was forced to listen to a twenty minute lecture on how she had been a single mom with no family raising a baby and running a business. Instead of using her experience to be a strong leader and relate to me, she felt I should ‘suck it up’ and ‘stop whining’. The bizarre fact about these ‘leaders’ is that they are under the impression that they take care of everyone and everyone takes advantage of their kindness.
So, this baking show got me thinking…
What are some of the red flags stylists should be looking out for in their bosses? When should a stylist get ready to move on? When is enough… enough?
Destroy The Hairdresser’s Top 10 Leadership Red Flags!
Diminishing empathy: Most leaders start off with the best intentions. Overtime their empathy diminishes and their bitterness increases. When this starts to happen it may be time to move on!
Paranoia: We see this all to with salon owners who have been screwed over one too many times. Paranoia usually sets in after the ‘bad’ employees are gone, leaving the good employees in the wake of their damage.
Hiding/ denying their mistakes: No one wants to feel shame or embarrassment. However, when a leader runs from vulnerability they tend to become aggressively defensive. If you call them out on a mistake they made, it can sometimes get ugly.
Blanket statements: This may seem like a regular leadership tactic but it just may be the most toxic of them all! Blanket statements are used to address a problem that is affecting the few but the leader would rather address the many. For example, a repeat offender in the salon leaves their mess sitting around so the boss holds a meeting to chastise everyone about the messiness.
Gaslighting: This happens when a leader manipulates an employee into questioning their own sanity by using doubt and guilt. This usually leaves the employee questioning their perception.
Inability to take criticism: Oh boy, this is a big one. Bad leaders are unable to withstand a blow to the ego. If they have acted inappropriately, said something out of taste, or done something wrong it is hard to confront them. This trait is hard to break and usually breeds a fear based culture.
Mania/ flying off the handle: We have all worked for that one crazy boss. We laugh about it now but it wasn’t so funny when we were working for them. Mania is high high’s and low low’s. You never know what you are going to get with these leaders. Working with them is like working with a grenade, you never know what might set it off.
Promises, promises, promises: When interviewing for a job there is one red flag that stands out in the most obvious way, promises. Some leaders promise so many things in the beginning to get you to work for them. Good leaders underpromise and overdeliver, bad leaders overpromise and underdeliver. Beware of the promises!
Bullying: Some leaders use bullying techniques to manipulate their staff. Bullying is abusive and is never ok, it can quickly turn into gaslighting.
History of walk-outs: Working for someone who has had their team walk out on them is a HUGE red flag. Can you guess why?