Leadership in haircuts

Dave Paola

Today as I was getting my haircut, I noticed a situation that made me think about the role of a leader in an organization.

What made today different than any other haircut? Today, the owner of the business was present at the front desk. He was there when I arrived, during my haircut, and as I departed. He was attentive, used my name when he spoke to me, and made sure I had a good experience.

During my haircut, I noticed that the (lone) employee was paying less attention to me than normal. He would look over his shoulder every minute or so, to see if the boss was watching. 

The boss was usually watching. 

He’d return his attention to me and continue. This happened several times and it really made me think.

The boss’s presence shifted this employee’s focus away from the customer and towards the boss. Instead of focusing on getting me a great haircut as usual, he was aware he was being monitored and it had a clear effect on him. And my haircut happened faster and with less attention than normal. (I’ll survive.)

Every day as leaders we make decisions about how we interact with our teams. Remember that every action, every word, every decision will usually have an effect on the team. That effect can be positive, nurturing, and provide clarity, direction, and inspiration to those on your team, or it can reinforce industrial-revolution-era thinking about work whereby the employees exist solely to please the boss.

Which leader would you rather follow?

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