Sam Villa Challenges Hairdressers to Be Team Players

Sam Villa
Sam Villa

Sam Villa

At a lot of salons I visit, the owner begs me for help in changing the competitive atmosphere that can turn off clients. Successful salons bring together not a group of individuals, but a team of individuals. How much do you contribute to your salon’s team? Ask yourself how well you fit the profile of a real team player:

  • Adapt. Blessed are the flexible, for they will not get bent out of shape when change comes or problems arise. Being adaptable means that instead of figuring out why something can’t be done, you figure out how it can be done.
  • Collaborate. Working together precedes winning together; completing one another is more important than competing with one another. Openly ask your colleagues for help when you need a second opinion. When you’re not busy, go stand by someone conducting a consultation or performing a service. You’ll learn something, and maybe you also can contribute, because two heads are better than one. Be supportive rather than suspicious. Develop a culture that gives clients the comfort of knowing they can go to anyone if their stylist isn’t available.
  • Commit. I’ve seen very talented people squander their talent and less talented people produce awesome work. The difference is commitment. Commitment is not an emotion, it’s a character quality. And it relies not on ability, but on will. Human emotions go up and down, while true commitment is rock solid. If there’s no commitment, there’s very little chance for success, and a team-oriented salon offers the best odds of obtaining buy-in from everybody.
  • Discipline yourself. Discipline is the fire by which talent is built. It’s doing what you don’t want to do so that you can do what you really want to do. Strengthening your work habits means that if you want to be a great hairdresser, you may have to practice a technique over and over—daily, not monthly. Discipline both your emotions and your actions. One time a client asked me, “Are you okay today?†She had read my body language and could tell something was bothering me. By not disciplining my emotions and actions, I lost focus and risked losing my client’s confidence in me.
  • Communicate. A team is many voices with a single heart. But to make sense of all of the chatter, you have to talk to each other. Hold team meetings, and in between, keep a log of topics you each want to cover. Establish a “24-hour rule†requiring team members to either address their issues with one another within 24 hours of an incident or let go of the issue. Without structured communication, all you have is gossip and complaining.
  • Follow through. Take responsibility for doing what you promise to do so that your team members know you’re dependable. When you find yourself pushing aside that promise, try to determine your motives. And if this happens a lot, start writing down your commitments. Read them every day, and I guarantee you’ll start following through.

Clients come to the salon to receive focused attention and spend time in an atmosphere with great enthusiasm, positive attitude and no tension. When they leave, each one is a reflection on the salon. The first question people ask is, “Where did you have your hair done?†Only after that do they ask for the name of the stylist. Accept nothing less than excellence, and become a teammate who can be depended on to consistently deliver in a way that drives success for your entire team. —Sam Villa Sam Villa has more than 25 years experience as a platform artist and educator for major salon professional companies. Part of the Redken family for the past 11 years, Sam is Redken’s Education Artistic Director and Design & Training Consultant and appears on as a spokesperson for consumer consultations. He is in constant demand at international and domestic trade shows and in-salon programs, where his progressive teaching approach enables stylists to absorb new techniques quickly and for practical use in the salon. In 2008, Sam launched his website,, along with his own brand of digital media education and styling tools for salon professionals.


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