Business Management

How to Handle Bad Boss Behavior

It’s intimidating enough to have to confront another employee for breaking the salon rules, but what do you do when it’s the owner who’s the culprit? We give you some simple strategies and scripts for a constructive talk, plus expert advice on when it’s time to move on to a different salon.

DO'S and DON'Ts During the Talk

Do be professional and honest, but gentle and humble at the same time.

Do use “I” statements (not “you” statements). (Such as, “I am concerned it ­disturbs our clients’ experience when there are children in the salon. Not “You are breaking the rules when you bring your children to
the salon.”)

Do focus on how the situation affects the overall business.

Don’t have a nasty attitude.

Don’t attack or point fingers.

Don’t have it be a “me-me-me” conversation. It’s not about you; it’s about the salon
and the clients.


If you choose to quit and find another salon to work in, you need to ensure that you won’t simply run into the same or a similar predicament at your new place of employment. Heather Goodwin, a coach at salon coaching and training firm Inspiring Champions (, says you need to know what to look for during the salon interview process to ensure the owner you’ll be working for follows her own rules.

Goodwin says: “I meet techs from all over and a high percentage of them find themselves in the same types of situations. The challenge that I see over and over is that instead of making a career move they just look for a ‘job’. Or more often I’m noticing them opening their own businesses as a way out. Neither of these are usually successful moves. More often than not the new business struggles just to stay afloat and most likely will close due to the lack of real business knowledge in our industry.

“As for jumping into a new job, the tech needs to interview the boss. Does the salon require a resume with references first before setting up an interview? Does the owner have you fill out an application that not only asks the vital info, but also questions on services and product lines (more of a self-assessment type form)? Does the owner have a vision statement ensuring what he or she is looking for in a new tech? Does the owner, upon completing the first interview, have the applicant interview with a team member?

“Was the owner prepared and on time? How was she dressed? Was the salon clean? How were the other team members dressed? During the interview with either the other team member or the owner, was gossip present on why others had left, or why they were hiring?

“Once a first interview is passed, Inspiring Champions recommends a second interview with both the owner and a second team member. This allows all parties to connect again. Look around again at the surroundings. Are children running around? Ask the team member if these children are allowed. Is the salon still clean with things running timely?

“Ask for clarity on product lines and usage. Was the compensation structure explained clearly? Were agreements in writing?

“In the third interview model services should be completed to test the applicant’s skills. Were the products labeled? Was the stock sufficient? What is the tech responsible to provide? What’s their inventory and ordering system?

“Remember that the culture of any salon is set by the leader. An employee can control her destiny by utilizing these points to look for. They have just as much opportunity to interview their new boss and coworkers. That way they can live a life by design and not by default.”


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