Are you solution-oriented?

By Liz Kline

Have you ever found yourself caught in a cycle of the same things happening over and over again? Sure, many of us face personal and professional challenges day to day, but as hair professionals, we always need to think smarter, not harder. Let me ask you this: Have you really taken a step back and evaluated your problems—those things that happen over and over again? If not, maybe it’s time to look at that vicious cycle and find out where the problem really lies.

I’ve heard the same kinds of complaints many times. “It’s not my fault—their hair was too thick, that’s why there were bleeders,” or, “They kept moving in my chair, so of course their hairline is crooked.” This, my friends, can be a problem, but that problem might be you. Let’s dive into this mindset to really understand how to overcome some of these concerns.

Every foil client you have has bleeders (bleach or color seeping, oozing, or running out of the foil placement and affecting hair that is not intended to be bleached or colored). You chalk it up to not having thin or thick-enough partings, too much saturation, or saturating too close to the scalp. All of these are valid reasons for having bleeders, but are you taking the right steps to prevent them from happening? Are you doing any research or taking additional classes to build skills, gain knowledge, and overcome this issue, or have you asked other stylists and colleagues for tips and advice? This is what problem solving looks like. There is nothing wrong asking for help, nor is there anything wrong with finding yourself years into your career and realizing your skills may not be as sharp as they once were. Start by taking a step back and saying, “OK, this keeps happening, what can I do to overcome this so I can be better?”

Let’s look at a different scenario. You may have an employee that’s great behind the chair, but they have such a negative attitude that the culture is being affected and no one wants to interact with them. Have you taken the time to talk with them? Or are you simply brushing off their behavior because they bring in a good amount of income?

At the end of the day, if your whole team is being affected by this, you may want to reconsider the negative stylist in the room. You can start by talking to them and explaining that their behavior affects the rest of the team. But if you find it’s not worth the time and headache of having them in the salon, have that conversation—you’ll find yourself happier for it in the long run. If you need help having those discussions, reach out to a coach or mentor to help you.

Problem solving is figuring out the root of the cause and then pulling the right people or resources together for the solution. Sounds easier said than done. The first and most important thing is to have an open mind and positive attitude about change. Sure, you have been successful for years, but what if you were to learn an easier or faster way of doing things? You won’t if you stay closed off about it.

Second—break down and understand what is causing the problem. Is it you? Is it a lack of communication? Is it a missed step? Every bob you cut always seems longer on one side. Have you looked into the ergonomics of how you stand? Is it the elevation of your shoulder and elbows? All of these factors can yield the same result.

Third—brainstorm solutions and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Open your old cosmetology or barber book and start looking at body positioning or answers to your problems. You’d be surprised how much we forget over the years of just the basics. If you’re looking to take a different route, then invest some time in education classes specific to your needs. There are a ton of options to choose from with educators all over!

Lastly, take action! Trying the same thing over and over again and getting the same result is a clear sign that something needs to shift. Change your mistakes with what you’ve learned. Now that you have gained some insight into what the root of the problem is, try a few solutions until your problem is fixed and don’t look back!

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