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How to Build a Strong Teamwork Culture

By: Caroline Nelson
Posted: March 30, 2010, from the April 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Recently, when I was delivering a seminar to a large group of spa owners, I mentioned the necessity of building a strong teamwork culture.

One of the attendees, in a quite abrupt manner, said she was fed up with hearing about teamwork; she only wanted to learn a foolproof formula to obtain good employees and then to be able to keep them for the long term and not just for a few months. From her attitude, it was obvious why she might have trouble finding good team members, let alone retaining them.

No one has a foolproof formula for every staff management issue that comes up, but there certainly are ways and means that can be adopted to provide the best possible outcomes for finding and keeping high-quality employees. In fact, good spa management often attracts quality applicants. Because this is a small industry and many estheticians know each other, the word quickly gets around about which companies are good to work for and which ones aren’t so good. Although finding the right employees is an obvious goal, creating an environment in which they want to continue working is also vitally important.

A variety of skills

In a team-oriented environment, every member contributes to the overall success of a business. What you may not know is that building an effective teamwork culture takes a variety of skills and input from management all the way down to the most junior team member. From a management angle, it requires a manager to have an understanding of human nature and to realize that not everyone is alike—and what a boring world it would be if that were the case. Managers must be able to show respect to every employee and to communicate directives or information well, while leading by example, and inspiring and motivating the team as a whole. But employees also must contribute and understand that to be good team members, they have to like working as a team. This is not always the case, as can be seen with some diva employees who want to run their own race. This can be a problem that needs to be resolved before you are ever able to obtain the team your business needs to succeed.

A strong leader

Although there is a wide variety of theories about how to develop a strong teamwork culture, all agree there needs to be a strong leader; one who realizes her key role involves coaching team members to achieve their best. Now the problem here is that, although most spa owners and managers know this, there are very few who take the time to do it. And although there are many reasons why this doesn’t happen, by far the most common is that owners or managers are too busy treating their own clients, doing the book work and performing all the other little tasks necessary to keep the business’s doors open.